Review: Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country

Funny how a word can change on you. When I moved to Oregon nearly a decade ago, I first heard about the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about the Steens mountain range, and the diversity of bird species that migrate through this region. Back then, Malheur meant wilderness. But in 2016, after group of armed men …

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What We’re Reading: September 2019

Midge Raymond This opinion piece in The Guardian shows in great detail why eating animals and animal products needs to be part of the conversation about climate change.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/08/ipcc-land-climate-report-carbon-cost-meat-dairy This opinion piece in the New York Times uses both wit and wisdom to discuss why “vegans are irrefutably on the right side of history.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/opinion/vegan-food.html Jacki …

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Book Review: Through a Vegan Studies Lens

Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism, edited by Laura Wright, is part of the series “Cultural Ecologies of Food in the 21st Century” from the University of Nevada Press, bringing attention to the ways in which our food choices “produce ecologies of effects, environmentally and otherwise.”   I am thrilled to see …

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Minding Nature: Winter

The winter issue of Minding Nature (published by our contributor The Center for Humans and Nature out now and well worth reading (free download here). This issue features essays about democratic ecological citizenship, reflections on birdsong, sword ferns, and the cultural wisdom of animals, artistic responses to the Anthropocene, and some beautiful poetry scattered throughout. 

Book Review: The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds by Gavin Van Horn

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University In his “Prologue” to The Way of Coyote, Gavin Van Horn, Director of Cultures of Conservation at the Center for Humans and Nature, leaves no doubt as to what his book is about. Before coming to Chicago, his “Plan A” was to inhabit a cabin …

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Writing Opportunities: Center for Humans and Nature

The Center for Humans and Nature contributes reviews to EcoLit Books. But did you know they also publish a blog, a journal (Minding Nature) and an ongoing series: Questions for a Resilient Future? And they are now looking for contributions. If you have a story to share, an idea to explore, check out their publication opportunities …

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Book Review: The Driftless Reader, co-edited by Curt Meine and Keefe Keeley

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Engagement Advisor for the Center for Humans and Nature and Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University. Readers of Curt Meine and Keefe Keeley’s anthology The Driftless Reader (University of Wisconsin Press, 2017) will find selections from eighty writers whom the editors describe as “eminent and obscure, bygone and contemporary, indigenous and outsider, poetic …

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Book Review: Galapagos at the Crossroads by Carol Ann Bassett

Galápagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists, and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution by Carol Ann Bassett should be on the reading list for anyone traveling to the archipelago, whether as a researcher or a tourist. This insightful essay collection, while offering deep dives into some of the islands’ flora and fauna, also covers …

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ASLE announces 2017 book award finalists

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment has announced the finalists for their bi-annual book awards. The ASLE book awards “in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing recognize excellence in the field.”   Creative Award Finalists The judges were Emily McGiffin, the winner of the ASLE Creative Writing Award in 2015, …

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Book Review: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey is a meditative, thought-provoking book about one of our most underestimated and underappreciated animals—the wild snail—and the ways in which the natural world can illuminate our own. When Elisabeth Bailey, normally an active person, is bedridden with a debilitating illness, she must cope not only with the …

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The Necessary Evolution of Environmental Writing

Halfway through reading The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston, I came across the following passage: A new danger, moreover, now threatens the birds at sea. An irreducible residue of crude oil, called by refiners ‘slop,’ remains in stills after oil distribution, and this is …

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The Greening of Literature

A week ago I traveled to Seattle to participate at the AWP Conference and Bookfair — the world’s largest gathering of writers and writing programs. Ashland Creek Press hosted a booth, and a number of our authors attended for panels and book signings. We also met editors at the environmental journals Newfound, Flyway, Catamaran, and Terrain. …

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Writing for animals: Advice for writers of animal rights fiction

In mainstream fiction today, “normal” characters tend to be carnivores, or at least omnivores, and “fringe” characters tend to be vegetarian or vegan. Naturally, I disagree with this distinction. But I also understand that most writers are simply following convention, simply writing about the world as they see it today. But the world is changing. …

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