Writer and artist Margie Crisp has traveled the length of Texas’ Colorado River, which rises in Dawson County, south of Lubbock, and flows 860 miles southeast across the state to its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay. Echoing the truth of Heraclitus’s ancient dictum, the river’s character changes dramatically from its dusty headwaters on the High Plains to its meandering presence on the coastal prairie. The Colorado is the longest river with both its source and its mouth in Texas, and its water, from beginning to end, provides for the state’s agricultural, municipal, and recreational needs.
As Crisp notes, the Colorado River is perhaps most frequently associated with its middle reaches in the Hill Country, where it has been dammed to create the six reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes. Following Crisp as she explores the river, sometimes with her fisherman husband, readers meet the river’s denizens—animal, plant, and human—and learn something about the natural history, the politics, and those who influence the fate of the river and the water it carries.
Those who live intimately with the natural landscape inevitably formulate emotional responses to their surroundings, and the people living on or near the Colorado River are no exception. Crisp’s own loving tribute to the river and its inhabitants is enhanced by the exquisite art she has created for this book. Her photographs and maps round out the useful and beautiful accompaniments to this thoughtful portrait of one of Texas’ most beloved rivers.
Book website: www.coloradorivertx.com
Book blog: riverofcontrasts.wordpress.com
Author website: www.margiecrisp.com
Former first lady Laura Bush unveils this year's Texas Book Festival poster designed by artist Margie Crisp, author of River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado. The poster features cliff swallows flying over the Colorado River.
Photo by Grant Miller
What Readers Are Saying:
"...another outstanding volume in the "River Books" series...this is not your run-of-the-mill field guide or travelogue...not only is the writing top-notch, but Crisp includes dozens of beautiful color sketches of the Colorado and the Texas wildscape surrounding it."--Waco Tribune-Herald
"River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado by writer and artist Margie Crisp (Texas A&M University Press, $29.95 flexbound) is a beautifully written, illustrated and designed tribute to the river that flows 860 miles across Texas to the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay."--Glen Dromgoole, The Eagle
"Margie Crisp's magnificent new book, River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado, is as full of environmental lessons as the long, winding river is in places sometimes dry."--Austin American Statesman
“Crisp records her journey not only through her words, but also through vivid digital photo, rich silkscreens, and exceptional linocuts and lithographs. Her magnificent artwork is rich and vibrant. With each new piece of art the reader is rewarded for turning the next page. Crisp clearly has a rare combination of gifts as an artist, writer, and naturalist, and is the official artist of the 2012 Texas Book Festival.”—BookShelf
“This coffee table-friendly book is gorgeous, but the book’s beauty should not detract from the author’s brutal warning. River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado is more than a beautiful coffee table book – it is also a stirring defense of the river and a call to arms.”—Southwestern American Literature
"Crisp's words and emotional investment in both the people and their efforts are richly detailed and warmly communicated. The author's love of her subject is reflected in both her remarkable illustrations and her flowing prose...Crisp provides the reader with a passionately worded description of details even the most regular river visitor will have missed. I highly recommended her depiction...the author's ability to capture both the inherent futility of taming wild rivers and the utter necessity of finding a shared commitment to a proper balance among competing forces is remarkable; to do so in a way that speaks to the reader's heart is what makes her work exceptional. Beyond simply reading such a work, owning it is a way to capture and hold a snapshot in time described by the words and images."--Gary Pinkerton, East Texas Historical Journal