Author: Isaac Yuen

The Perfect Party Guest, Center for Humans and Nature

Delighted to share that I have an essay published by the Center for Humans and Nature, “a nonprofit organization, publisher, forum, and place to explore, connect, and nurture our understandings of and responsibilities to the natural world.” Titled “The Perfect Party Guest,” the piece makes the case of considering certain creatures to your next gathering/shindig, ones that are perhaps not on everyone’s radar. Here’s an excerpt: “When deciding on whom to invite to your next gathering, be sure to extend consideration to the sloth. Either the two-toed or three-toed variety will do, for each distant relation will have unique insights to share about their suspensorial lifestyles, which is just a tongue-pleasing way of describing upside-down living on trees. These days you needn’t even worry about tailoring the invitation like you would eleven thousand years ago, when sloths of the giant and grounded species might suddenly show up at your door, not being able to fit through, and wouldn’t that be dreadfully embarrassing, having to turn away guests because the fire code for your condo common …

Crafting with Ursula: Writing Nature and Nature Writing

I’m very excited to share a recent conversation I had with David Naimon, host of Between the Covers. A bit about the show: Between the Covers , a literary radio show and podcast hosted by David Naimon, is brought to you by Tin House. These long-form in-depth conversations have been singled out by the Guardian, Book Riot, the Financial Times, and BuzzFeed as one of the most notable book podcasts for writers and readers around.  I’ve been a big fan of David’s interviews for years, having come across his work through his three craft talks with Ursula K. Le Guin, which was later published as the book Conversations on Writing. (His own creative writing is also amazing.) So imagine my delight and surprise when he approached me to contribute to a new series called “Crafting with Ursula,” in particular around the subject of nature writing. Some of the stories we discussed, like “Direction of the Road” and the “Author of Acacia Seeds“, have been featured in the past here on Ekostories. Others, like “The Bones of the Earth” and “Vaster …

Clouds in Finland

Utter, Earth – AGNI Magazine

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 …

Lesser Short Nosed Fruit Bat Newborn

Yes, You can Leave The Hospital Without Naming Your Baby

Some publication news: I’m super honoured to have a piece of creative nonfiction up at the latest issue of The Willowherb Review, a fantastic UK-based publication focused on providing a platform for nature writing from writers of colour. Some of you might recall that I also had another piece titled El Lugar de Los Sueños in Willowherb last year. Instead of another personal meditation, I wanted to embrace a completely opposite style. Whimsy fuels this slightly manic and ridiculous piece’s attempt to jam as many creatures into a single work (29 at last count). The conceit around names and naming is an attempt to honour those we share this planet with, those who have since passed, and those still in the process of discovering themselves through living. Here’s an excerpt: “…In the wild reaches even less care is taken in the naming process. This is more understandable given that there are so many mushrooms and so many weevils, and everything adjacent to groups or branching from clades deserves a station within life’s grand catalogue. Blurry-eyed taxonomists …

spirited-away-dreamscape

The Ecological Imagination of Hayao Miyazaki, Orion Magazine

It’s not every day that you get to work on a dream project with a dream publication. I’m excited to share that I have a new piece up online at Orion magazine, exploring the ecological imagination of Hayao Miyazaki. Where the word for forest is silence A tree and troll to watch over me Carrying on through a wayward world Reading the wind, mending the earth An introduction to the work of the venerated Japanese animator and filmmaker (who happened to turn 80 this year), the piece is also a retrospective on four movies dearest to my heart: Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Miyazaki tales were major sources of inspiration for me starting Ekostories—you can read everything I’ve written over the years in the archives HERE. And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out the rest of Orion’s latest issue (and hopefully subscribe!) It’s seriously fantastic both in terms of production value and in-depth content that explores the connections between people and nature. Here’s …