Peter Anderson

About the Author

Almost thirty-five years ago, Peter Anderson began writing for a small town daily in a mountain town just east of the Continental Divide. He covered school board and town council meetings. He wrote features about trappers, circus people, rodeo clowns, miners, honky-tonk musicians, wildlife biologists, and late night ski hill groomers among others. After covering similar mountain town beats for the Pueblo Chieftain and the Denver Post, after writing several regional histories in Central Colorado, after writing and editing interpretive texts for state and national parks, after authoring a dozen children’s books on natural history and the American West, after editing several literary magazines, after teaching English at Salt Lake Community College and working as a backcountry ranger in the High Uinta Wilderness, after teaching writing at a Quaker seminary in Indiana and a small state college in southern Colorado, after writing a quirky bunch of essays on mountains and spirituality, and after ten years of performing in coffee houses, bars, libraries, colleges and other literary venues throughout Colorado with a gang of high country poets known as the River City Nomads, writing, for him, is still about making a home: in the high desert, in the world of ideas, and in the great mystery of it all.

Peter lives in Crestone, Colorado, an eccentric mountain town full of spiritual seekers, old hippies and neo-rastafarians, Buddhist monks, modem cowboys, retired bikers, former executives turned poets, ranchers, philosopher-plumbers, green-leaning realtors, artists, writers, and musicians. He loves the San Luis Valley as well as the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains that shape it, and he likes to explore it all in an end-of-the-road column called Dispatches from the Edge, which he writes for Colorado Central Magazine.

From 2003-2009, Peter served as editor of Pilgrimage Magazine. From 2005-2008, he was the poetry editor for the Mountain Gazette, a widely read publication in the Rocky Mountain region. In 2009, he edited Telling it Real: The Best of Pilgrimage Magazine (2009; Pilgrimage Press), an anthology of poetry and nonfiction organized around the themes of story, place, spirit, and witness. In 2015, he co-edited (with Rick Kempa) an anthology of Grand Canyon poems called Going Down Grand (Lithic Press), which was nominated for a Colorado Book Award.

His most recent book, Heading Home: Field Notes (Conundrum Press; 2017), is a collection of short essays, flash prose, and prose poems, which Colorado novelist Laura Pritchett describes as offering "gorgeous meditations on traveling, the natural world, small towns, parenting, and...the cultural eccentricities of of the modern day west." His collection of essays, First Church of the Higher Elevations (Denver; Conundrum Press; 2015) explores the ecology of story, spirituality, and landscape. His poems have appeared in various anthologies including New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press) and Storied Wheels (Somos Publications).

Peter Anderson was the Bennett Fellow Writer-in-Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy for the 2015-16 school year. Currently, he teaches in the English department at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado and lives with his family on the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Selected Works

Going Down Grand, the first full-length anthology of Grand Canyon poetry, gathers the voices of cowboys, explorers, river-runners, hikers, artists, geologists, rangers, and others whose words bear witness to this complex and magnificent place. For readers on the river, the trails, the rim, or beyond, the poems on these pages will make fine canyon company. Edited by Peter Anderson and Rick Kempa and nominated for a Colorado Book Award.
Heading Home begins with Peter Anderson's dharma-bum passion for the road, which leads him through the mountains and deserts of thr American West, and eventually lands him in an eccentric end-of-the-road town fill of mystics, misfits, and mountain dwellers. This book is a gathering of "field notes"--observations, recollections, and stories along the way, where home is understood as a work in progress and the way is a road that never ends.
In these contemplative essays written for seekers and adventurers of all kinds, Peter Anderson explores the scripture of place, the topography of memory, and the landscape of the imagination.
Independent, reflective, progressive, place-and-spirit-centered voices in and beyond the American Southwest. Telling it Real offers up some of the best work that has appeared in Pilgrimage Magazine since 2002.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6. Anderson takes readers on a guided tour from the rim of the Grand Canyon down to the valley floor. One can almost imagine traveling downward on the back of a mule as the colorful narration describes the geological history that created the distinct layers of rock. Clear, informative, and interesting prose and pictures make this a solid selection for libraries.

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