Thrilled to cap off the year with a few pieces of publication news! My latest essay titled “Utter, Earth” has been published in issue 94 of AGNI Magazine, a literary journal based out of Boston University. (Update: The piece has been selected to be part of Pushcart Prize XLVII: Best of the Small Presses 2023—a tremendous honour!) A bit about the issue:
“Utter, Earth” is a curation of scientific extracts, organized in the fashion of a Rafil Kroll-Zaidi’s “Findings” from Harper’s (I love his interview with Tin House called “Findings is a Dolphin“), but a bit more focused around the goings and comings of the natural world. Within the piece you’ll find elephants and elephantnosefish and diabolical ironclad beetles and everything else in between. Here’s an excerpt:
“Weddell seals vocalize nine types of sounds beyond the range of human hearing. Guinea baboons learn to grunt in the accent of their preferred social group. Glass frogs pitch their calls higher near roaring waterfalls while waving hello to potential mates. The croaks of male gulf corvina resemble underwater machine-gun fire in sound and decibel level; spawning aggregations can induce hearing loss in nearby marine mammals. Deaf, earless moths sport wing scales that dampen and deaden predatory sonar. Bats can crash into large sponge walls with weak echoes, not unlike people walking into glass doors. Solitary minke whales seem to abandon efforts to hear and be heard in waters with heavy shipping and military activities. The album Songs of the Humpback Whale officially reached interstellar space in August 2012 onboard Voyager 1; it is not part of the Golden Record’s “Sounds of Earth” track with tame dogs, wild dogs, and hyenas, but mixed amongst the recorded human “Hellos” in fifty-five languages. In 40,000 years, the probe will drift within 1.6 light-years of Gliese 445, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis. What we think of as a giraffe is in reality four genetically distinct species, some of which have been recorded humming at night. Researchers are unsure if these sounds are passive, like snores, or active messages intended for fellow giraffes, swaying in the black.”
Here is an additional interview I did with AGNI on the piece, if you are interested in the process.
In related news, I’m very excited to announce that this essay will be included in my upcoming collection, also titled Utter, Earth, which will be published by West Virginia University Press in Fall of 2023. Happy to be sharing more in the upcoming months—until then, I wish you all a restful holiday season!
I’m thrilled for you! May the coming year prove to have more of your work out there for others to read. Happy holidays. Cheers, Muriel
Thank you Muriel! Hope you are keeping in good health!