Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Adrienne Rich: My heart is moved by all I cannot save

                   My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
                   so much has been destroyed

                   I have to cast my lot with those
                   who age after age, perversely,

                   with no extraordinary power,
                   reconstitute the world.
                                                  ~ Adrienne Rich, Dreams of a Common Language

Friday, June 9, 2017

Free Summer Eco-Reads

From now until June 15th, a group of 20 authors--me included--are giving away our books. These books, from memoirs, to children's books, to novels, novellas, anthologies, mysteries...from a diverse and international group of committed and talented writers...all rise from a shared love of the natural world, and a commitment--especially now, in these dark political and climate-changing times--to protect this more-than-human world and to celebrate all its wonders.

Inspiring. Informed. Adventurous. And FREE. Get yours here:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

At the Associated Writing Program's conference in Washington, D.C. this past February, poet Jill McCabe Johnson handed out broadsides of my poem, "December 21st," with a political action for Resist Write Now!

Here's the broadside, the poem -

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Loren Eiseley: Immense


Once in a lifetime, if one is lucky, one so merges with sunlight and air and running water that whole eons, the eons that mountains and deserts know, might pass in a single afternoon without discomfort.

                  ~    Loren EiseleyThe Immense Journey


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Love, Sex, Earth: Guest Post by Lorraine Anderson

My guest blogger, Lorraine Anderson, has just released a beautiful and inspiring anthology, Earth and Eros, with color photographs by Bruce Hodge. Anderson has an incredible gift for creating ground-breaking anthologies: she edited the renowned Sisters of the Earth, one of the first anthologies of women's writings on nature, and one of the most important books I've ever read. Earth and Eros is equally seminal. ~ Marybeth

There it was again, the Hallmark version of Eros: the winged boy with arrows in his quiver meant to strike lust into young hearts. In this guise, dreamed up by the later Greek satiric poets, Eros enjoyed wreaking havoc in the Greek pantheon, smiting the gods with inconvenient desires and provoking unrequited loves. Zeus falls for the mortal Semele; Venus falls for the mortal Adonis. Tearing and rending of garments ensues, as do offspring: from the former couple, Dionysus, that hearty partier.

But this is a trivialization of Eros that obscures its power to move postmodern people toward a rapprochement with the natural world. In the most ancient Greek stories, Eros is a fundamental cause in the formation of the world, representing the power of love to unite discordant elements and bind humankind together. It’s that sense that we urgently need to recover today. Properly understood, Eros is a force of nature, the innate life force that connects us to ourselves, to other human beings, to all other living beings on the earth, and to the earth as a living being. Eros is fuel for a revolution of the heart. And sex plays an essential role in that revolution.

Native American poet Sherman Alexie refers to sex as “the fog-soaked forest into which we all travel,” “the damp, dank earth into which we all plunge our hands / . . . / to search for water and room and root and home.” Sexuality is basic and universal, and its great beauty is that when we are naked, vulnerable, and aroused, when we are out of our minds and fully in our bodies, we are perhaps closest to our own nature and our own wild hearts. In that moment we know for certain that we are part of, not above, the animal kingdom.

All of the environmental sins of our time spring from holding ourselves above and separate from the great body that provides for our every need. When we see ourselves that way, we impose our own self-serving plans on the natural world. The catastrophic results are all around us. Sexuality draws us into relationship and makes us see that we are part of—not apart from—nature. When we understand that what we do to nature we do to ourselves, we are much more likely to respect and hold sacred the land and other beings. We are much more likely to listen to and cooperate with the great intelligence that informs all life around us.

So next Valentines Day, go outside. Listen. Listen to your own beating heart, to your deepest longings, and to the world around you. Listen hard. Listen as if your life depends on it.


Lorraine Anderson is editor of the new book Earth& Eros: A Celebration in Words and Photographs, which brings together prose and poetry by nearly seventy authors—including Gary Snyder, Terry Tempest Williams, Pablo Neruda, Diane Ackerman, D. H. Lawrence, and Louise Erdrich—to celebrate the sacred erotic dimension of humans’ relationship to the earth. Foreword by Robert Michael Pyle and photographs by Bruce Hodge.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wendell Berry: Stand.


                     What I stand for is what I stand on.

                                                                                                 ~ Wendell Berry


Friday, December 11, 2015

HOWL: Guest Post by Susan Imhoff Bird

My guest blogger, Susan Imhoff Bird, is the author of Howl: of Woman and Wolf. Commemorating twenty years since the wolf’s return to the American West, Howl explores the passions and controversies surrounding nature’s most fascinating predator, while also delving into the reality of being human in today’s world.

My Alaska, My Wolf.

I dream Alaska. Immense, white. Fanged, feathered, furred. Hooded and gloved and without question, booted. Mukluks, Juneau boots. Huddled homes, expansive shorelines, seventy shades of blue to be discovered in sky and lake, river and ocean. Great and ferocious predators, thickened by fur and hardened by lot. Bears—black, polar, brown—wolverines and lynx, foxes, wolves. And the winged: bald and golden eagles, hawks and osprey, ravens and owls—great gray, northern hawk, and boreal—the fantastically named gyrfalcon, curving a path high above them all.

My Alaska is massive, resplendent, its edges blurring into towering, snow-sculpted mountains, bereft of trees. But if you peer closely, large paw prints traverse the slopes, dissolving into shadows cast by boulders, by landslide, by earthen tumult.

When I started studying wolves, I went on a late spring day to a valley that had, a month before, watched its snow melt into the ground and drip from banks into its rivers. I saw but one wolf that sojourn, though I’d hoped for more. I stood with a bevy of others, squinting into scopes, and watched the solitary wolf tear sustenance from the carcass of a bison calf. The Lamar Valley was well-filled with bison, cranes, and coyotes, while eagles spiraled above and a grizzly family pawed through a rotting tree trunk on a far hillside, but of wolves, I glimpsed only the one.

I returned to Yellowstone five months later, arriving the day after a blizzard, and learned to search for wolves on snow-dusted sage plains, on rocky outcroppings, on ice-laced creeks and tree-dotted buttes. Alaska, I thought, is more like this. I saw wolves—two who circled within forty feet of where I stood on frozen boots, two more a hundred yards away, and a family of eight who lounged atop a ridge, brought to near life-size by a powerful scope, whiskers flicking, eyes blinking, an exchange of paw swipes by two black cubs. Another morning, a pack of wolves was so far away that in my scope, they were lumps of gray-brown upon a rocky hill of gray-brown. Still others I tracked as they ran through winter-stiff grass and across ice bridges, only to disappear again in the shrub.

Soon I began to dream a wolf. She travels sloping mountain flanks, she sniffs for fellow and foe. She looks upon the world through eyes of gold, which glow on moon bright nights. Life is spent in snow and sun and rain, in pursuit of elk, caribou, moose, that routinely elude and escape. She sleeps curled nose to tail, she naps while the sun is high. She partners for life. She howls to bring her family close, and she howls to warn others away. She is guided by hunger, by instinct, by love, which are often one and the same. Her coat is a hundred shades of time-worn granite. My wolf is wild in every way, with a spirit so wide its edges blur. Into mine.

In my Alaska, live wolves. In my wolf, lives Alaska.

Find out more about Howl and Susan Imhoff Bird at