Autumn comes to coastal California in microseasons: gourds and pumpkins swell in the fields, and the first rains come to the redwoods and cypresses. Keats called it “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Autumn is a great time to be reading and writing inventive poetry that challenges our notions of what constitutes the “nature poem,” especially since all is not well with our relationships to the environment.
In this workshop, we will read and write ecological poetry, enter notes in our journals, and encounter some of the flora and fauna in our surroundings. We will discuss poetry from a perspective of our own environmental concerns and study the work of poets who have addressed ecological issues in their bioregions. We'll consider questions of poetic form, Romantic ideas of nature and spirit, animism, theories of eco-feminism and other perspectives, using work from a groundbreaking anthology of environmental poetry, The Ecopoetry Anthology. Our class will include short oral presentations of new drafts of our own poetry and prose, written during the weekend.
Required reading: Fisher-Wirth and Street, The Ecopoetry Anthology. Please bring this book to the workshop.