ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The unnamed river in the title of Philip Connors’ new book “A Song for the River” is the Gila, and in particular its early stretches through southwestern New Mexico.
It is no ordinary song and no ordinary river. For one, it is Connors’ song of praise to the noble Gila, whose headwaters were the first in the country to be designated a primitive area by the U.S. Forest Service.
That was in 1924, the same year the Forest Service designated the land surrounding the river’s headwaters as the nation’s (and the world’s) first wilderness.
The book sings other story-songs for which Connors composed lyrical, elegant prose.