Showing posts from 2020

Returning to Kindness: What the River and the Poems of Linda Hogan Teach Us

Women have been gathering at the river for thousands of years. It is where we have traditionally  come to greet the sun, to cleanse and purify ourselves, to find inspiration, to tell our stories, to create a vision for the future.

Torrey House Press, the publisher of Linda Hogan's newest book of poetry, The History of Kindness, writes that these new poems “explore new and old ways of experiencing the vagaries of the body and existing in harmony with earth's living beings.”

"There is no one like Linda Hogan," writes author Terry Tempest Williams. "I read her poetry to both calm and ignite my heart. A History of Kindness is a series of oracles rising from the page born out of a life of listening, feeling, responding."

For women, living in harmony with our bodies, and with nature, does not always come easily. We are often encouraged by society to embrace a lifestyle that is everything but harmonious with nature. We are led to believe that harmony with our bod…

The Earth, A Reclamation

The poem and poet's statement below, and accompanying photographs, first appeared in the May 2020 issue of Langscapes Magazine, published by Terralingua.Org. I wanted to also share with everyone reading  All Things Literary/All Things Natural. Thank you. 
ReclamationThey say the traffic in London has killed the song of the nightingale. When they serenade each other, they sound more like the honking of horns, the squealing of brakes, and so the nests
lie empty.
Yet a coyote sought shelter in a Chicago Starbuck’s last month, the closest thing to a cave he could find, stood shaking next to the cooler in the dark corner with the Odwalla juices and the caffeine drinks and the mineral water from Fiji. Just last weekend, in Santa Fe, in the hours before dawn, on the Plaza while the town slept, a mountain lion leapt through the door of a jewelry store, leaving a spider web of broken glass. In Denver, raccoons pilfer garbage beneath city streetlights.
Sleek Peregrines, with nesting boxes built…

Where the Condors Fly

I should be in Peru right now, visiting with the traditional weavers in my broken Spanish, dotted with poorly pronounced Quechua words, smiling at Elena, petting her lamb, telling her about the ewes we used to have in Wyoming, about the lambs my children used to raise. Our laughter would embarrass her, but her eyes would twinkle and suddenly we would be just two women standing on a mountainside.

I harbor a secret dream that rises up whenever I visit Peru. In the highlands of Peru, progress seems to stand still but time travels on, swirling among the ancient Apus where the condors fly, sifting through fields of ripening corn, floating down the Urubamba River, rising as mist that floats across the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.

Time travels through the fingers of the Quechua weavers, too. Ancient patterns appear like magic in wool freshly dyed with crushed leaves that only a few days ago fluttered in the breeze.

"When you speak Quechua," I am told, "you convey emotion.…

What if God gave us a Do-Over? What if Kristin Flyntz's imaginary letter from the virus to us isn't imaginary after all?

If you haven't yet watched Kristin Flyntz's video (see below), pick up your journal, find a quiet corner, then click on the photo below. As you watch and listen, imagine our species making this earth our home for a mere 200,000 years. Imagine the 4 billion years that the earth has been home to as many as 8 billion other living beings. We are babes in the woods.

Consider, what if the human species is only one of a million sentient species? What if we are not even the most sentient species? What if the earth, and all life on earth, has been trying to have a meaningful conversation with us for thousands of years?

What if we suspend our disbelief, and watch this video with humility, with our senses engaged and our human egos disengaged? What if we suspend our disbelief, like we do when watching movies or reading novels, and pretend (just for 3.5 minutes) that we're not the smartest beings on the planet, that all life carries within it the same miracle of creation.

What if God say…

The Coronavirus and The Eight Master Lessons of Nature: What Gary Ferguson and Mary Clare are Teaching Us About Living Well in the World

March 19, 2020 Update: Journalist John Vidal poses this question in The Guardian: "Is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics." Scroll down for the link to the article.

Did any of you, when you first heard that the coronavirus was sourced from a live-animal market in China, have this fleeting thought: What did we expect after centuries of treating animals cruelly? Did we think there would be no consequences?  Perhaps it’s time we look not only into the pathology of the coronavirus, but also into the morality of it.

We have always known there would be a day of reckoning. The bad news is that the final arbitrator might be Supreme Nature herself. The good news is that the final arbitrator might be Supreme Nature herself.

In Lesson Five of The Eight Master Lessons of Nature(“Our Animal Cousins Make Us  Happier—and Smarter”), author and good friend Ga…

Cummins' American Dirt and Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth: Can stories, even when they aren't our own, build bridges?

Jeanine Cummins is on the hot seat right now for writing American Dirt, a novel about immigration and life on the Mexican/American border, which was (until a few days ago) believed to become one of the most important novels of 2020. Oprah named it a Book Club Choice. Stephen King endorsed it, as did Ann Patchett, John Grisholm, Sandra Cisneros, and other notable writers. The New York Times and Amazon gave it the #1 slot. Rumor has it that the publisher paid Cummins a 7-figure advance.

A few days ago, the dirt hit the fan for Cummins and Flatiron Books (an imprint of MacMillan). The book tour was cancelled. Oprah was unusually quiet for a few days, then posted a video on her book club Instagram page allowing for an opportunity in March to discuss the controversy in more depth.

Suddenly, American Dirt was everywhere. And nowhere.

January 31st Slate Magazine published an article by writer Laura Miller, which discusses this question:

Will the American Dirt Fiasco Change American Publishin…