Introducing Autumn 2019

Autumn 2019 Cover Photograph by Camille Seaman.

Autumn 2019 reaches homes and bookstores everywhere over the next two weeks, and we think you’ll love this issue. One staff person said that Autumn 2019 is “undoubtedly one of the most visually stunning issues” he’s seen in the past few years. We’re excited to share it with you.

This issue of Orion explores what happens when borders come down and the outside mingles with the inside. Here’s a preview of what to expect:

  • Anya Groner covers Solitary Gardens, a public art project that passes freely through the walls of prison facilities around the U.S. The gardens are designed by prisoners in solitary confinement, resulting in community spaces that reflect the inner workings of the minds of the unseen.
  • In “Filling the Democracy Gap,” attorney Thomas Linzey challenges the United States Constitution and some of the ideas that were excluded from it. (The word “nature,” for example, does not appear a single time in the document.)
  • In “Essence of Lavender,” Katrina Vandenberg reflects on the distillation of essential oil, a process by which the essence of a plant is extracted from its body and sealed in a bottle; and on her late first husband, a hemophiliac whose medicine was itself a distillation of proteins culled from the blood of tens of thousands of anonymous donors.
  • Andrea Carrubba’s Prison Village explores a self-governing prison in Bolivia where the absence of regulatory procedures has allowed a full-functioning society to grow entirely within its walls—an inside-out city.
  • In “Hurricane Diary,” David Gessner witnesses, from afar, a hurricane flooding the streets of his hometown.
  • Craig Childs tracks cross-border migrations between desert and sea in “Shell Trade.”
  • In “Gods Among Us,” Terry Tempest Williams illustrates that humanity is not the center of the universe but part of an expanding, contracting, and uncertain future.
  • In “The Animal Inside,” John Freeman addresses the connection between inequality among humans and inequality among the earth’s species.
  • We conduct an interview with illustrator and graphic novelist Chris Ware.
  • Lay of the Land dispatches: a story by Leath Tonino about a grandmother’s love for clouds, as her memory becomes clouded by dementia; backpacking as a woman of color; borderland jaguars in Arizona; the art of seed collecting; owl tracking during a meteor shower.
  • Poems by Camille T. Dungy, Major Jackson, and others. Broadside poetry by Ada Limón, artwork by Nikki McClure.
  • Jamie Zvirzdin outlines six ways to calculate a universe in flux. 
  • Books reviewed: Who Owns England, The New Enclosure, Animalia, China Dream, Losing Earth: A Recent History, and the Collected Schizophrenias.


Our Winter 2019 issue will feature red crabs, archaeological digs, Freud, pilgrimage, climate denial, decolonizing environmentalism, and, of course, the end of civilization as we know it. 

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This is a collection of Orion Staff contributions.