Lesley Poling-Kempes

Selected Works

The true story of remarkable women who left the security and comforts of genteel Victorian society and journeyed into the rugged outback of the American Southwest in search of a wider view of themselves and their world.
Fiction
“In the exquisite novel BONE HORSES Lesley Poling-Kempes grandly creates the landscape of New Mexico as a living character – vital, enduring and full of magic. As the geography of the American Southwest comes alive on the pages, the geography of the heart is revealed to be far more than muscle and bone. This is a story of what truly knits us together – family, history, enduring friendships - served up in luminous language and unforgettable story-telling.” Mary E. Mitchell PEN Award-winning author
"Canyon of Remembering is a memorable and exceptionally well crafted novel." -- The Midwest Book Review
History
“A writer’s acute, compelling history of one of America’s more endangered landscapes. Digging deeply into the history of a place, Poling-Kempes mines a rich vein of lore and myth.” Kirkus Reviews
Nonfiction
The definitive work about the Harvey Girls, Harvey Houses, and the Santa Fe Railway. Recently optioned by Atalaya Productions for a television series.
“Poling-Kempes is a skillful writer, smoothly dovetailing the human stories that make up the narrative of this pristine, peaceful, and appealing place. The author flat out knows how to tell a good story.” Richard Etulain
Co-author
"In her meticulous account, Lesley Poling-Kempes discusses the geophysical origins of this land of 'extremes and contrast,' analyzing the layered stone formations and matching them up with O'Keeffe's keen observations of red shales, sandshales and silt stones created 200 million years ago. . ." – Dore Ashton, Times Literary Supplement
From the University of Arizona Press

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Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu

“A writer’s acute, compelling history of one of America’s more endangered landscapes. Digging deeply into the history of a place, Poling-Kempes mines a rich vein of lore and myth.”
Kirkus Reviews

The region of Abiquiu and the Piedra Lumbre (Shining Stone) has been a pivotal and prominent locale for human stories since the time before recorded time, its soil the home for the famous and infamous in very nearly every era in Southwestern history. American painter Georgia O’Keeffe is the much-heralded headliner of the valley’s notable citizens list. But she is, in fact and in legend, a latecomer whose story is the icing on an already rich and multilayered cake of characters who in their own time exerted considerable and remarkable influence on the story of the Southwest.
“Historians have loved Abiquiu and the Piedra Lumbre basin from afar. The valley’s story has been told in fits and starts, usually as an antecedent to or anecdote in someone else’s story: the region figures prominently in the histories of the pre-Pueblo and Pueblo cultures, and in the arrival of the Spanish and their struggles to establish New World colonial settlements. Individuals involved with the Southwestern Indian slave trade, the Rocky Mountain fur trade, and the first overland trade caravans between New Mexico and California began their perilous journeys from Abiquiu’s dusty plaza. And decades of Navajo, Ute, and Apache conflicts with the Spanish, Mexican, and United States governments simmered and too often boiled into bloody warfare on the Piedra Lumbre’s vast llanos.

“Abiquiu is a cosmic village. Its story has always been about many kinds of people and cultures. Everyone who lives here was once an immigrant. Abiquiu is a private place, but its story belongs to the world.” – Charles M. Carrillo