Journal of Writing & Environment

Web Rove of the Wildness Symposium

by Audrey McCombs

Iowa State University, Flyway‘s bricks and mortar home, is currently hosting our 9th Annual Symposium on Wildness, Wilderness & the Environmental Imagination.  This year’s theme, “The Future of Water,” has attracted some of today’s most important and imaginative writers thinking about our relationship with our planet’s most essential element.  For our readers who are unable to attend, here’s a web rove focusing on those writers.  The Symposium wraps up this weekend with a Kinship of Rivers event out at the Casey Nature Preserve on Sunday (April 7th), and a reading on Monday evening (April 8th) featuring authors Rick Bass and Wang Ping.  Come if you can, and if you can’t, this web rove will give you a taste of the deep, refreshing waters we’ve been swimming in.

Charles Fishman, excerpts from The Wal-Mart Effect

Between 1997 and 2004, seventy percent of all new retail jobs created in the United States were Wal-Mart jobs.  Wal-Mart shapes where we shop, the products we buy, and the prices we pay — even for those of us who never shop there.  Read excerpts from one of The Economist‘s Best Books of 2006, and decide for yourself how much you should be paying attention to what’s going on with this mega-corporation.

Elizabeth Bradfield, “Against Solitude

From her collection Approaching Ice, which she read for us at the Wildness Symposium.  This web page has links to some of her other poems, too: some uncollected, some from Approaching Ice, some from Interpretive Work.  “Against Solitude” will convince you, no matter how much of a loner you are.

Sherwin Bitsui, “River

The word “river” is a verb.  From his collection Shapeshift.

Julia Whitty, Deep Blue Home

Julia Whitty’s book The Fragile Edge has been described as “a natural history, a call to action, a love song, and a prayer.”  Her latest book Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of our Wild Ocean will change how you think about our oceans.  “Deep Blue Home,” linked above, is her blog site.  Also of interest is her latest article in Mother Jones on how the US Navy is reducing energy consumption, decreasing reliance on foreign oil, and significantly increasing the use of alternative energy – changing the energy game across the globe.  Her article on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was one of the most important pieces of reporting to come out of that disaster.

Joy Harjo, audio interview discussing Crazy Brave (from NPR’s “Talk of the Nation”)

Multi-talented poet, musician, and muse, Joy Harjo shares some secrets in this audio interview she did with NPR.  The webpage also includes a link to excerpts from her new book Crazy Brave.

Wang Ping, Kinship of Rivers project

Kinship of Rivers is a five-year interdisciplinary project to build kinship among communities along the Mississippi and Yangtze Rivers, and raise awareness about the rivers’ ecosystems through art, literature, music, food, and the installations of river-flags made by river communities.  Learn about this unique and visionary project and how it’s inspiring people living on opposite sides of the planet.

Rick Bass, “Gettysburg” (in Narrative)

“He’s not a fool. He’s foolish, but not a fool. He knows he’s on thin ice, soulwise; he knows that his soul has gone underground for a while, has gone to sleep, but he can’t think of how to wake it up.”  Access to this short story requires signing up for Narrative, “a non-profit dedicated to the best in storytelling.”  Signing up is free, and you get to read a whole lot of really good writing.