CONFLUENCE: Navigating the Personal & Political on Rivers of the New West
by Zak Podmore
After losing his river-running mother to cancer, author and paddler Zak Podmore disappears into the American West’s iconic canyon country to heal. What he finds is a wilderness infused with personal stories, as well as a landscape strained by political, environmental, and cultural tensions. A trip down the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park leads to a confrontation with US immigration policy. While canoeing down a rare release of water in the Colorado River delta, Podmore questions the economic foundations of Western water management. He reports on uranium tailings near the San Juan River, dam removals on Washington’s Elwha River, and a tourist development in the Grand Canyon. Moving and provocative, CONFLUENCE follows in the tradition of Thoreau or Edward Abbey — it takes us into the wild but always has one eye turned back toward the blessings and ills of civilization.
October 2019 | Nonfiction | 978-1-948814-08-9 | 154 pp | $18.95
EARLY PRAISE FOR CONFLUENCE
“These essays combine an adventurer’s soul with a philosopher’s head. Kudos to Zak Podmore, a fresh new voice from the West.”
—PHILIP CONNORS, author of A Song for the River
"The publication of Confluence marks the arrival of an important new voice in the West.”
—DAVID GESSNER, author of Ultimate Glory and All the Wild that Remains
““Told largely from the author’s kayak, Confluence makes for an ambitious, adventurous ride. The words themselves move like rivers—from choked, bucking rapids to languid flat water, to eddies swirling with uncomfortable truths. But you’ll find zero bravado on these pages. Instead there is a flood of grief and outrage, both personal and panoramic: from the loss of his river-running mother, to the poisoned drinking water flowing from the faucets of Utah’s indigenous tribes, to the death of waterways that sustain the American West, Zak Podmore has unleashed the kind of storytelling that will inspire the next great wave of ecological activism—and not a moment too soon.”
—AMY IRVINE, author of Desert Cabal
“Finally! Finally a young writer who deeply feels and understands the power of water, the power of emotion, the power of words. Confluence is a profoundly personal and philosophical look at Western rivers and their value to all souls.”
—ANDY NETTELL, Back of Beyond Books
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zak Podmore is a Utah-based writer, film producer, and editor who covers conservation issues and Utah politics. He is a Report for America fellow at the Salt Lake Tribune, editor-at-large for Canoe & Kayak, and editor of the Canyon Echo: A Journal of Southeast Utah. He has written for Outside, Sierra, High Country News, Four Corners Free Press, High Desert Journal, and the Huffington Post. His films have been selected for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, and the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, and his magazine writing won a 2018 Folio Eddie Award.