Featuring Kathleen Dean Moore, Charles Finn, and ringleader Charles Goodrich, gathering a company of poets, with host Professor Barbara Mossberg for radiomonterey.com, Sunday live noon–1pm, PST, produced by Zappa Johns
Job 12:7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
Hello Poetry Slow Down! Greetings from Moscow . . . at the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, 33 countries represented, after traveling for three days, no people in sight, only vast, vast stretches of land and mountains and ancient sea beds and fields, we ask Siri, charming brew pub Moscow Idaho Searching, okay, here is what I found, Pushkin Pivo, oh isn’t that marvelous, I say, there must be Russian emigrees or readers of Russian literature, you’d think it would be a coffee house, or vodka bar, but it was on ulitsa verkhniye polya 36, and then Khmenonoye Frafstvo, Mitinsky, not on our map of Main Street: we gather Siri assumed we were in Moscow, Russia, whereas of course Idaho, where Frederick Law Olmsted designed the University of Idaho campus arboretum, but we never could convince her we were in Moscow Idaho. Meanwhile, poets are here going to town with geologists, soil scientists, biologists, civil engineers, philosophers, and names like anthropocene are being tossed about, “The Anthropocene is a proposed geologic chronological term for an epoch that begins when human activities have had a significant global impact on the Earth’s ecosystems,”cli-fi, that’s fiction about climate change, biotic and abiotic, petroculture, and it’s all epic and epoch and eco. I’m here talking about the role of poetry in eco law, you know Poetry Slow Down how poetry changes the world, inevitably, inexorably, like water changes the face of earth, and in civic soil, we save civic soul, and I’ll share some of that with you, my title was The Deep Structure of Subversive Understanding: Literature’s Subliminal Role Seeding the Soil Feeding the Soul in Eco-Law: A Sub-versive Talk, a title punning on the conference theme, The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice, and I was talking about how poets make the case and create a logic for the underdogs of our world having “standing,” for example, trees, or their habitat. I’m with poets from all over the world, and one session you would love, I loved thinking of you, was Come Into Animal Presence: Empathy, Honor, and Extinction, the title from a poem by Denise Levertov, and the three poets speaking on what’s at stake in how we see and talk about earth’s creatures, for their sakes and ours, are Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Moral Ground, essays by ethical activists, and poems from Wild Comfort, and Charles Finn, editor of High Desert Journal, and his book Wild Delicate Seconds, and poet Charles Goodrich, conjuring this panel, from Oregon State University, where he heads the Spring Creek Project, which brings together poets and scientists and people working to advance knowledge and commitment to earth from all the disciplines; they have a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, an experimental forest, which I got to stay in at the cabin at Shotpouch Creek, as a mid-sixties lady channeling Thoreau rocking morning around the clock 24/7. And they “braided” poems on earth’s underdog creatures, frogs, toads, spiders, snakes, mosquitos, vultures, buzzards, bees, and animals with whom we live in conflict, bears, but also herons, all our favs on The Poetry Slow Down, and the author of Trash Animals was with us, Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species [Kelsi Nagy, Phillip David Johnson, and SueEllen Campbell, whose mentorship inspired the book that inspires my students in eco-literature, and I’ve asked our poets to share with us some of what they read as we consider Trash Talk/Trash Animals/NOT, I’m your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, with our Producer Zappa Johns, for good vibrations radio radiomonterey.com, podcast BarbaraMossberg.com, for 24/7 poetry, the news you need, the news you heed, the news of “despised” and “difficult” poems “without which men die miserably every day” according to William Carlos Williams, who would know, in his day job as a physician, making house calls to himself at night with Rx poetry.
© Barbara Mossberg 2015