Author Archive

Poetry, Science, Politics, and Birds

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In watching birds, I understand Adrienne Rich’s idea of triangulation through poetry, science, and politics. Someone thousands of miles across the globe must also value, give voice to, and protect the homes of my most familiar backyard birds.

Why Poetry Is Difficult

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Because there is language. Humanoids happened, then Homo sapiens happened, and somewhere down the line, we started to talk. Why? Because pictures weren’t enough. Because pictures, dazzling as they were (and still are), are a little less portable, less mutable to the nuances of our shifting perceptions.

On Topophilia and a Complicated Love of Jim Harrison’s Fiction

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Topophilia, coined by W.H. Auden in 1947, means the love of place; a straightforward word to describe thoughts and feelings I have with regularity.

Somewhere Else: One Woman and Her Car

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About two years ago, I arranged for a one-way ride to York, Maine, to buy a 2004 Toyota Matrix that I found on Craigslist. While the owner counted the cash, he gave me a brief history of my new car.

Feminism and Tillie Olsen’s SILENCES

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Though Tillie Olsen published very little in her lifetime, her body of work had a great impact on the women’s movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. She was a champion of underrepresented writers. Olsen’s book, SILENCES, became a classic feminist text, and her works of fiction were met with

The Physics of Poetry or the Poetry of Physics

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When I started my Google search with the words “physics and poetry” I did so with some reluctance, knowing that each time I clicked on a headline or hit the return key I was willfully handing over hours of time to the trailings of one of my recent curiosities.

Into Obscurity, Poetically Speaking

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I first found CD Wright’s poem “The Obscure Lives of Poets” back in February, and was afraid to get too close, as though examining it might blind me, or worse, put out the fire.

Small Departures: Aphorisms, Poems, and their Intersections

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I see the aphorism as a flag the poem is waving, a point of contact, or discovery, that exists only in relation to the space around it: poem, aphorism, more poem, then reaching into blank space. When an aphorism stands alone, there’s no more poem around it, just the

Disappearing Acts: On Wilderness and Writing

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Most people get lost accidentally, a few get lost by necessity. There is hardly a story more compelling to me than the latter—that of the individual so primordially unsatisfied with civilization that wilderness is their only consolation.

Accessing Social History through Books

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The required reading for the entering undergraduate class the year I enrolled was Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen. I didn’t read it.