Salal is a unique book about a commonplace plant. Part travel narrative, part literary memoir,
part "ethnography" of a plant that usually goes unnoticed, Laurie Ricou's book traces the poetry and culture of salal, while letting readers in on its secrets. Through interviews, commentary, and well-documented research, Ricou tells the stories of salal—how it is used, its meaning to writers and artists, how it is gathered, and what the vagaries of the salal industry are all about. Laurie Ricou is a Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. He is a former president of the Western Literature Association, and former Editor of the journal Canadian Literature. His previous publications include Vertical Man/Horizontal World: Man and Landscape in Canadian Prairie Fiction, A Field Guide to "A Guide to Dungeness Spit," and
The Arbutus/Madrone Files: Reading the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Vancouver, BC.
"I can think of no other book that draws the sciences and the arts together into such a rich and thoughtful work, all based on one plant." — Brian Titus, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service (booksense)