By David Marquis
A meditation on water as metaphor for social change, based on the author’s experiences as an environmental activist.
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
A meditation on movement of both society and nature, based on the author’s experiences as an activist. In short, aphoristic chapters, Marquis explores the power of force and collectivity through the metaphor of water. As an activist, David Marquis founded the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve in Dallas, and has consulted with the Texas Conservation Alliance since 2011. He brings an unerring belief in the connective and healing power of nature to The River Always Wins.
"The River Always Wins is an arts-based project—book, music, video, stage, audio book, and visual—designed to inspire people to come together to create positive, lasting social change." —David Marquis
Read an excerpt in Literary Hub
David Marquis is a long-time committed activist for environmental and social change in the Dallas area. During the 1980’s he traveled to El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Africa, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines to study and to participate in freedom movements in those countries. He has written and performed nine original one person stage plays, which he has toured to 41 of the 50 states. His trilogy I AM A TEACHER toured for 20 years and later became a book (Simon & Schuster), which was a Critic’s Choice in Time magazine and the basis for the Be A Teacher, Be A Hero public service ad campaign. He founded the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve in Dallas and currently is the technical advisor on water issues to the Environmental Commission of the City of Dallas.
His book-length lyric essay The River Always Wins was published by Deep Vellum in 2020, and the follow-up volume The River of Goodness will be published in early 2024. Marquis grew up on the high, dry plains of West Texas listening to family stories of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, of World War II and starting over after years of lean times. To his family he owes his love of a good story, his sense of social justice, his ties to nature and the land, and his first-hand experience with strong women and men. He dedicates his work to his four grandchildren, that he may leave the world a better place for them and their generation.
LONGLISTED for Reading the West Book Award
“The lessons of Marquis’ book feel eerily prescient. Even the title feels like something the America of 2021 needs to hear… Yes, we have been here before. Then as now, there is much to learn, Marquis says, by turning to nature. Nature, he contends, provides both a blueprint for change and balm for the soul." —Michael Granbery, The Dallas Morning News
"There's something calming about Marquis's aphorisms on the persistent, irresistible force of water." ––Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“This book is a moving testimony of a longing that lies deep in our hearts, inviting us to embody it in our own lives, and gift it for the entire world.” —Ruben L.F. Habito, Guiding Teacher, Maria Kannon Zen Center
“The timeliness of this book that reads with the rhythm of a musical composition is remarkable. The River Always Wins reminds us that just like the water in the river that is, we as humanity are becoming. Rising up and reborn as headwaters, collectively flowing through rapids, over sandbars and around fallen trees, we are, nevertheless, moving towards the greater good - shaping the rock and transforming hearts along the way.” —Cynthia Seale, Trinity Waters
“The River Always Wins is a welcome spiritual field guide for social movement activists in these uncertain times.” —Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian, Founder and Director, Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership
"An expert on water conservation and supply, David Marquis has created a work that is both instructive and entertaining. No spoiler alert that the river always wins." —Eric Nadel, Texas Rangers Radio Announcer, 2014 Ford C. Frick Award Recipient
"David Marquis' words are as rhythmic as running water and remind us of both the spiritual and ecological place that rivers have in our lives." —Andrew Sansom, founder of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and former Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife
“Through beautiful prose and inspirational imagery, The River Always Wins is a testament to perseverance and the human spirit. It is a powerful reminder that despite hardships and setbacks, we can all continue to move our society forward, one drop at a time.” —Diane Regas, CEO for The Trust for Public Land
“As an open space enthusiast and parks advocate, The River Always Wins spoke to my ‘green’ heart in its rhythmic prose and allegories. But, its messages and metaphors about human emotion and personal connection are supremely powerful. I’ve read excerpts to my children and would recommend this to any person. Nature unites us, so any reader can appreciate David’s illustrations of its impact on our lives.” ––Calvert Collins-Bratton, President, Dallas Park and Recreation Board