n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - 'Other ways to be' : home, space and (un)belonging in the poetry of Ursula K. Le Guin

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



Ursula K Le Guin's writing, in poetry, fiction and expository prose, displays a carefully nuanced response to space and place. In many of her narratives, the protagonist journeys to a distant realm and then returns home via a complicated route, thus following a conventional quest structure. The theme of home - the place where one is welcome and at ease - is recomplicated, I suggest, in her later writings. In Always coming home, the "home" posited by the title is located, not in any definable place or time, but within a holistic appreciation for the interconnection of natural phenomena. In her later works, Blue moon over Thurman Street and Out here: poems and images from Steens Mountain Country, Le Guin and her collaborator, photographer Roger Dorband, take the interrogation of "home" still further until the volumes become intensive investigations of mutability and duration as well as familiarity and dislocation. Through Le Guin's characteristic propensity for balance and equipoise, these volumes lead the reader to new understandings of self, place and (un)belonging.

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