Barbara Kingsolver, known primarily for her long fiction, also has written travel articles, book reviews, essays, and poetry. Her nonfiction book Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of 1983 (1989) presents a compelling picture of the plight of miners in southern Arizona’s copper-mining company towns. The form of her poetry collection Another America/Otra America (1992)—with Kingsolver’s poetry and its Spanish translations printed on facing pages—invites cultural awareness. Homeland, and Other Stories (1989), a short-story collection, contains previously published and new work, most of which depicts the vagaries and pressures of different mother/daughter relationships. Some of the stories encompass fathers, brothers, and husbands as well, but all explore how family, past and present, affects the identity and perspective of the main character or the narrator in each story.
Kingsolver’s essays include those in High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never (1995), which present her thoughts on parenting, home ownership, cultural habits, travel, writing, and other topics. Following the national upheaval surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Kingsolver was asked to edit previous essays and add new material to a volume that she would call Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands (2002). The book includes photographs by Annie Griffiths Belt and text by Kingsolver celebrating America’s remaining wilderness. In Small Wonder (2002), Kingsolver explores what it means to be a patriotic American and responsible citizen of the world. The essays reiterate her pacifist philosophy and her open-hearted embrace of the American tradition of dissent and active involvement in environmental, domestic, and political issues. Her love of the United States is clear in these works, as is her insistence on the right and responsibility to express one’s ideas.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life(2007), written with her daughter Camille Kingsolver and her husband, Steven L. Hopp, is an intimate look at how Kingsolver and her family made the transition from Arizona to southwestern Virginia. The family committed to growing most of what they would eat and to buying locally grown foods to supplement their diet. The book has recipes, contributed by Camille, and scientific and political information on programs and legislation related to food production, contributed by Steven. It offers stories both hysterical—the sex lives of turkeys—and sobering—the modest gains of farmers who have decided to go organic and the damage done to the land by large agribusinesses.