Weeks 4 & 5

Tuesday February 3 
Anthology: What Holds the Water, What Holds the Light. Linda Hogan, page 143.
Patience by David Gessner.
The Wireless Woods by David Gessner.
Short paper #6

Thursday February 5 
The Word for World is Forest, Ursula LeGuin, pp 1-62
Short paper #7

Tuesday February 10 
Find a place outside to sit quietly and observe for an hour. Then come inside and write about the experience. Bring that piece of writing to class on Thursday.
Short paper #8 Nature Writing by you.

Tuesday February 12 
The Word for World is Forest, Ursula Le Guinn, pp 63-128.
You might want to check out this poem by Ursula Le Guin in Orion.
Short paper #9

Week Three

Tuesday, Jan 27 
The readings this week are in the anthology Literature and the Environment. If you don't have your books yet, I put a copy on reserve in Moon Library.

Living Like Weasels, Annie Dillard, p 5.
Irregular Flight, Kent Nelson, p 8.

Here's the short video we tried to watch in class before discovering that the wifi on the third floor of Bray totally sucks: John Oliver's take on climate change.

Short paper #4

Thursday, Jan 29 

Snow Day, Lisa Couturier, p 15.
Marking my Territory, David Gessner, p 17. 
Knot, Pattiann Rogers, p 45.
David Gessner’s “Transformation video”

Short paper #5

Week Two

Tuesday, January 20 

In your folder, read:
Raymond Carver, Ray A. Young Bear, Joy Harjo, Stanley Kunitz, Roxana Robinson.
But also check out this editorial in the NY Times: If You See Something, Say Something

Short paper #2 

Thursday, January 22

In your folder, read:
Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Joseph Bruchac, Derrick Jensen, Bill McKibben.

And if you see this in time, check out John Oliver's take on climate change.

Short paper #3

Week One

Welcome! This is the course blog, where I'll post assignments and announcements. (Check out the Assignment Schedule in the Sidebar if you want to see the whole semester at a glance.)

The first thing you need to do for this course is make sure you have the books. Since it will take a couple of days for the books to arrive, you will want to order them as soon as possible. You should be able to find pretty inexpensive copies online.

Literature and the Environment
edited by Lorraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, and John P. O’Grady.

Make sure you get the SECOND EDITION. It should look like this:

Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
The Word For World is Forest by Ursula LeGuin
The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer

For Thursday, January 15 
We will read poems from different time periods, just so we can get a glimpse of the history of nature poetry before reading contemporary literature. 

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) -- Romantic British poet 
John Keats (1795-1821) -- Romantic British poet 
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) - Victorian British poet 
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) -- American poet 
E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) -- American poet 
Mary Donahoe (1941) -- contemporary American poet 
Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) -- American poet 

Plus, check this out: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Turned into Haiku

Short Paper #1 due. Think of a short paper as a way to add to the conversation in the classroom. We will be sharing them with each other.

EWP 490 Contemporary Nature Literature

In this course, we'll be reading contemporary nature literature, focusing primarily on authors and movements after Rachel Carson. We’ll relate that literature to current events, to history, to western culture, to religion and politics, to pop culture, to the environmental movement, to media representations of nature, to other texts, and to our own life experiences.

We will be especially looking at emerging voices – ecofeminists, native writers, science writers, animal rights activists, deep ecologists, and other perspectives that differ from the mainstream. We will be applying ecocriticism, a type of literary criticism that approaches literature from an ecological perspective.

Books for the course

Literature and the Environment
edited by Lorraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, and John P. O’Grady.
Make sure you get the SECOND EDITION. It should look like this:


Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer. A series of personal essays that tells the stories of moss through both science and indigenous ways of knowing.

The Word For World is Forest by Ursula LeGuin. A science fiction book that the movie Avatar was loosely based on.

The Bee-Loud Glade by Steve Himmer. A novel about a decorative hermit who lives on a rich man's estate.

In addition we'll be using online resources such as Orion Magazine and XKCD. Be sure to check this blog for links to assignments.

Short papers

This course is designed to get you in the habit of setting aside time every week for reading. You'll be assigned readings twice each week, and I expect a written response to these readings. These response pieces are a good part of the writing you will be doing for the course. They should show that you are engaging with the readings and the class discussions. Please take them seriously.

Think of these short papers as a way to add to the conversation we will be having in the classroom. You'll be sharing them with your classmates.

Your response could include:
Questions for class discussion
Your opinion on a topic the writer brought up
A summary of what you read
Observations about what you read
What you thought about the poem or story or essay
A piece of creative writing inspired by what you read
A list of topics you think the piece covered
Questions you might have for the author
An interesting tangent inspired by the piece
Something you researched about the author

You could:
Share a relevant experience from your life
Share relevant information from other ESF courses
Share insights you had while reading
Connect what you read to a topic we discussed in class
Go off on a worthwhile tangent
Ask questions about things you didn't understand in the reading
Critique the text
Analyze some part of the text that seemed interesting
Relate the reading to current events
Relate the reading to environmental issues

Most of the time your response will be a full page of writing, done on a computer. (Single-space the lines, but double-space between paragraphs.) But not always. Your response might be a drawing or a photograph.