Sense of Place in the American West

Sugar Loaf Peak

Where we live informs our character. What follows is a collection of essays and haiku that recollect places, spaces, landscapes, and experiences that come together to help inform a sense of what it means to live in this place we call the American West. 

Essays and poems were written by Arizona Western College students in Spring 2013 for the class, Literature in the American West.

Sense of Place : Yuma, Arizona, My Home

Aug 7, 2013

I am the fourth generation in my maternal family living in Yuma, Arizona. I was born in Yuma and have lived here all of my life. I definitely consider Yuma my home because I have been to many other places and nowhere feels quite the same to me. Being in other places I feel out of place. In Yuma I know my surroundings and I know I am home.


Sense of Place: Family Roots

Jun 24, 2013

The Hassayamapa wash, located near Wickenburg, Arizona is a relic of the American West. With its slow and gentle stream working its way through the canyons one can’t help but be intrigued by its natural beauty. Every year around Octobe r my dad and I make a trip up to Wickenburg just to ride dirt bikes in the wash. It’s a beautiful wash and canyon and one that my ancestors traveled down 110 years ago.

Sense of Place: The Western Kingdom

Jun 24, 2013

Purple and gold. Two colors that in the American West represent not just a jersey but royalty, not just a franchise but a dynasty, and represent not just a town but a kingdom. That kingdom goes by the name of Los Angeles and in the heart of that kingdom is its crown jewel, the Staples Center which is home to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sense of Place: Sugar Loaf Peak

Jun 20, 2013


  Sugar Loaf Peak, with its surrounding rugged mountains and valley washes of varying heights, colors and sizes, is a desert environment that holds many memories for me. Some of those memories are mixed with bubbly, sugar coated childhood ideals. Then there are also those that leave my mouth devoid of moisture with a slight reminiscent thought of old hiking adventures. My connection to the American West runs a tad deeper than most, with five years of my childhood spent on a 700 acre claim in the Arizona Laguna Mountain range.