All posts tagged: nature writing

Isla San Francisquito

The Willowherb Review: El Lugar de Los Sueños

I’m pleased to have a new essay out in the latest issue of The Willowherb Review, a publication celebrating nature writing from emerging and established writers of colour: “Why ‘Willowherb’? Chamaenerion angustifolium, commonly known as rosebay willowherb or fireweed, is a plant that thrives on disturbed ground. Its seeds do well when transported to new and difficult terrain, so some—not us—may call it a weed.”  About The Willowherb Review This issue explores the theme of habitation: What does it mean to inhabit a space? El Lugar de Los Sueños strives to weave natural history and personal meditation of one place, La Paz and the surrounding Gulf of California, into a coherent whole, mimicking the holistic stylings of The Log of the Sea of Cortez, the muse text that lies at the heart of the piece (and one I’ve explored before here on Ekostories). I was keen to revisit a location from a few years back, to retrace and revive the words of a beloved work, and also to form a new reality of a space I …

Life Lessons from the Odd and Ancient, The Hopper

Pleased to have a new natural history essay up at The Hopper, an environmental literary magazine from Green Writers Press. The germ of this came about when I was piecing together an impromptu interpretive talk on living fossils and extinct creatures a few years back. Looking through horseshoe crabs, replica Megalodon teeth, and Cretaceous cypress needles, I was inspired by the many bizarre and under-appreciated organisms throughout Earth’s history, and felt compelled to share some of their stories through wordplay and lyrical prose: “If you’ve been feeling adrift on the sea of life lately, it might be best to seek guidance from an elder. You may wish to fish one out of the drink, like Captain Hendrik Goosen did one salty morning off the coast of South Africa in 1938, but be sure to verify its credentials first, as curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer did after spotting the creature’s four fleshy fins and puppy dog tail. Surprised at being consulted after four hundred million years, the coelacanth may be inclined to impart its accrued wisdom onto receptive devotees. …

Big Blue

Our Museum of the Future – Shenandoah

Humbled and honoured to contribute a short story to the latest issue of Shenandoah Literary Magazine. I had the good fortune of working on “Our Museum of the Future” with editor Beth Staples, whose new vision for the venerable publication is one I find compelling: “…I consider it my job to privilege voices that don’t fit into that category, not just because it’s the right thing to do to counteract many years of established practice, but because reading is one of a very few ways we can jump into the mind of someone else.” The fundamental purpose of literature in Staples’ view is “to expand the reader’s sense of the world and their place in it. It should also be one of our goals for being alive: stepping into another person’s shoes and practicing radical empathy.” – Radical Rebirth, The Columns “Our Museum of the Future” grew out of the conceit that there exists a public space where words are showcased and curated in the same fashion as bones: “Welcome to a museum of words instead of bones. …

Omega Institute Rhinebeck

2018 Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop

Looking forward to attending the Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, this June 10-15: “The Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop is an annual week-long writing workshop for writers who want to improve their writing about nature and the environment. This workshop gives writers the unique opportunity to connect with Orion writers and editors in order to understand more deeply Orion‘s approach to the relationship between literature and the natural world. This program is for writers who want to learn how to write an Orion essay, short story, or poem; for writers who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing; for poets who are drawn to writing about nature and culture; for teachers and scholars who wish to write for a more general readership; and for environmental professionals who want to bring better writing skills to bear on their work.” As I’m trying my hand at fiction this time around, I’m excited to workshop pieces with Megan Mayhew Bergman, essayist for The Paris Review and author of the excellent short story collection Birds of …

Arctic Iceberg

On The Edge, Calling Back: An Interview with Barry Lopez

I had the recent pleasure of reading a great interview with Barry Lopez that I would like to share here on Ekostories. I’ve long admired Lopez’s writing; Arctic Dreams remains one of the most perceptive and spellbinding books I’ve read in recent years. In the interview, Patrick Pittman chats with the celebrated author on “ethics, hope, death, and the importance of good people in times that are not.” Lopez comes across as someone who has lived life deeply and reflected upon it a great deal, especially in the last stages of his life, but what I find equally interesting are Pittman’s probing questions on nature, writing, and legacy. I’ve included a few of them below: On the responsibility that comes with naming: “You write about places that are relatively untouched by the human hand. Of course, nothing’s untouched, but there’s an idea of land being at least unspoiled. In capturing these places, you make them a known place. There’s a danger in that; there’s got to be some sort of care and obligation when you write about these spaces.” On the perils …