Etel Adnan

Essay & Drawings
ISBN: 978-0-942996-01-2
$15.00 • 64 pp. • 1986
Illustrated with 17 drawings by the author

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

Etel Adnan (…) was once asked in a TV Interview to name the most important person she had ever met, and when she answered “A mountain,” she discovered that Tamalpais was at the center of her being. (Journey to Mt. Tamalpais) can be read most accessibly as the story of an experiment, the Perception Workshop, that the author and her artist friends in Mill Valley participated in for some years, “living with a mountain and with people moving with all their senses open, like many radars…”
—Sherry Reinecker, “Magic Mountains: Adnan and Corman” Edge, Japan

Highly original in both content and literary structure, it is a new outlook on the importance of Nature as an element of thinking; one of the major works of the “spirit of place” in contemporary literature. An enlightening journey for those who love the mountain, for those who love Etel, and for those who (like me) love both.
—Wendell Berry


Excerpt from Journey to Mount Tamalpais:

The car is parked by a curve on Mount Tamalpais. Ann and I are looking south at the Bay meandering through the hills. The radio is on. We are listening to Berg’s Sonata number one. Ann’s attention is turned sometimes inward, filled with the music, and then she extends the look of her blue eyes to the horizon. It’s a clear December morning: the clarity of high passes through the mountains. She recalls her campings on the High Sierras. Her intensity is rushing to its own fulfillment. While it lasts it looks miraculous.

The early workshops participated of the newness of the world. Yes, they were at the very beginning of the Sixties, yes they participated in the prophetic spirit of a decade which has its equals in History in the Pre-Socratics, or, closer to us, in the decade which has its preceded the Russian Revolution and was made by Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky…. This time a whole nation was again being involved in a Great Experiment, unabashedly, through street marches, music, songs, underground movies, and millions of silent events which tried to uproot a culture and plant a new one, a new forest. The workshops in Mill Valley found, at least for a handful of us, their place between Castaneda’s Yaqui Teachings, the powers and winds and visitations of the world, and Mao’s people, the Chinese awakening for a new morning, on the other side of the Pacific.


Etel Adnan is an Arab-American poet and writer born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She studied at the Sorbonne in France, U.C. Berkeley, and Harvard and taught Philosophy at Dominican College in San Rafael, California. She is the author of more than fifteen books of poetry, essays, and cultural writings. She is a recipient of a 2010 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award. She divides her time between Sausalito, California; Paris; and Beirut.