Everything comes from the earth, even poems. Especially poems. And the poems and stories in "Following the Plow: Recovering the Rural," have their roots sunk deep in the land. These authors know there is no such a place as nowhere. From the time before enclosure, before the paving over of paradise, from when we honored the soil and knew ourselves to be the guardians of a sacred garden until the very present and urban predicament of humans, the minds and hearts and souls of these contemporary, and mostly Canadian writers know and acknowledge the deep connections in the present which echo back through time. Hugh MacDonald digs a well deep enough to see the stars by. James Reaney reads Milton while he ploughs. Bill Robertson writes of the village lunatic. Lea Harper watches the towns evaporate into the landscape. Jeff Seffinga celebrates the beauty of pigs. Roger Bell tells of the yearning of laundry in the wind. Patrick Friesen sees "in barbed wire and wild roses the tangle of a man's life." Cornelia Hoogoland remembers licking salt blocks set out in a field of cows. Janice Kulyk Keefer tells of wildflowers and ditch weeds. Jane Munro watches a long freight train drawn across the prairie. From the four points of the Canadian compass, from the farm and the village within, from when we were tillers to now, these singers and tellers have what the renowned Canadian poet Raymond Knister called 'a deep trust in reality.' For them, the field is more than the field. For them the barn, the road, the stream, the ditch, the house, the ancient acres of Ontario, the prairies, the far north, the oceans west and east, the islands we inhabit, all have their metaphor. For them the hamburger is not invented by a food chain clown. For them the supermarket blueberry has its genesis on the shrub and comes plump to the hand under heaven. For them something endures from beneath, from within and beside the megalopolis building itself on the earth.