"Delving into these wetlands, she finds in their array of strange fauna and flora an objective correlative to the place in the mind where artistic inspiration occurs: a place of blurred borders, shifting identity, and strange odors, of rot and death, of Zen peacefulness."
"Hurd writes about people with the canny poise of Cheever, and about nature with the loving exactitude of Thoreau. And everywhere in her work is a speculative energy and elegance that make her essays a rare achievement."
"Hurd's elegant, effortless prose is a surefooted guide through the wetlands she loves: the liminal zones, the borderlands that aren't quite earth or water. This engaging book takes us deep into the swamp, both into the physical place and into its literary and mythic dimensions. Language, after all, is a swamp too—a meeting place, a fertile territory of depths and of origins. Stirring the Mud is a smart, singular enchantment."
—Mark Doty, author of Dog Years
"Hurd has the sharp eye of the essayist, the naturalist's feel for place and the poet's for metaphor. . . . The essays have deep reach. Like all the best such works (Annie Dillard, David Quammen and, of course, Thoreau), they make you reassess the way you look at something you thought was familiar. . . . Hurd's savory gumbo includes backward glances at her own childhood and forays into religion and myth, issuing in a synaesthetic series of deeply felt impression and surprising meanders. . . . The marriage of wonder with language, of muck with metaphor, is beautifully controlled."
—Toronto Globe and Mail
"But Stirring the Mud is not just—even primarily—a natural history. It's about swamps as springboard for the imagination, inviting meditations on the nature of our lives."
"Hurd's poetic inquiry into the life and margins of marshy terrain takes us on a magic-filled metaphorical mystery tour of human desire."
"Hurd's essays reverberate with an intimate, reverent understanding of nature, history, and art. The bog—metaphoric, historic, actual—has its large life here, in a book that is gracefully written and fully imagined."
—Jane Brox, author of Clearing Land
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