Nature Lit Message Board

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Nature Lit Message Board

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1ohome Ensimmäinen viesti
elokuu 1, 2006, 11:59pm

Anyone reading any Wendell Berry? I was introduced to his writing just this past year, and it has been amazing. It has definitely given me a great interest in further studying "nature writing" and ecocriticism of all sorts.
What have been your nature lit inspirations?!?


elokuu 2, 2006, 12:18am

I re-read four Berry novels in the past month or so ... books my students have to choose from for summer reading.


Wendell Berry
Edward Abbey

but inspiring of what? i sit here in an a/c-cool room filled with electrical knicknacks with barely the energy to do the needed deadheading out in the garden ... kinda hot today ... i had a chance to venture out on an actual wilderness trip ... but begged off ... "way too out of shape"

these writers remind me of what is mostly a world lost ... lost to me, at any rate ... it's all very elegiac ... & that is sad ...

but i walked out tonight ... and there was this cloud ...

elokuu 2, 2006, 1:31am

Other than some poets, which may be too obvious, the two books that changed my life regarding nature have to be A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman and the height of nature-based writing: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, which I first read in highschool and has altered my worldview ever since. I don't say it lightly when I describe these as masterworks of a sensory-based existence here, and now. - Jeremy (abductee)

elokuu 2, 2006, 1:03pm

yeah, brTom.
Before a month ago, I had done NO gardening whatsoever. But a year worth of on & off Berry reading recently put me in a friend's backyard, getting a garden going these past few weeks. It was an experience I've never had, and now plan to have much more often.

So I definitely think there are changes coming.

Another personal example :
while at the _Thoreau Society Gathering_ in 2004, I was growing tired of some of the sessions. I went for a walk (beautiful in Concord, MA) and took _Walden_ with. I opened to my favorite chapter - "Higher Laws" and wanted to try to read it with "new eyes." I came away from that specific reading and became a vegetarian one month later.
It's just an idea of inspiration.
Thoreau asks, "How can one have a pure thought and eat an animal at the same time?" ...

I was inspired. And I'm hoping it was just a beginning.

5hayduke Ensimmäinen viesti
elokuu 18, 2006, 12:49am

I just read Nathan Coulter, which I quite enjoyed. It's the first thing I've read by Berry, except for the odd essay here and there. I figured I'd start with the first of the Port William tales. Next I'll have to read some of his nonfiction.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 22, 2006, 11:53pm

Great move, hayduke!
Of his fiction, I've actually only read Hannah Coulter , and it was amazing. I'm planning on beginning The Memory of Old Jack and Jayber Crow some time soon.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 14, 2007, 6:49am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

kesäkuu 14, 2007, 7:11am

Edwin Way Teale has a series of books where he follows the seasons across America. North with the Spring & Autumn across America Circle of the Seasons & A naturalist buys an old farm are still in print. He has a great style of writing, interesting & not "preachy" he covers a lot of "robert Frost territory" - eastern US & New England.
David Quammen 's nature essays cover the world. Natural Acts, a sidelong view of Science & nature is an early work & still popular.

kesäkuu 14, 2007, 8:44am

Gerald Durrell's seres of autobiographical sketches of his life and animals are always interesting, informative and humourous too. My family and other animals is the most famous, which I recently re-read, but they're all pretty good.

Simon Barnes - How to be a bad birdwatcher was another humourous look at the perils of enjoying wildlife.

A Gnole is a very different novel / fantasy but with very eco-minded sentiments.

kesäkuu 19, 2007, 1:23pm

David Kline is an Amish farmer in Ohio who is a friend of Wendell Berry. He has written a book (yes, Amish people do write books) called Great Possessions, An Amish Farmer's journal c.1990 North Point Press. He has also written a more recent book which I don't have, yet. If you like Wendell Berry, you'll really enjoy David Kline.

marraskuu 2, 2007, 5:35pm

CitizenKelly, it is a delight to come across a true nature essay gourmet and your focus much appreciated. When i visited England fifteen or so years ago, i was terribly dissappointed not to find any literary nature essays -- durrell was the sort of thing i would have enjoyed in highschool, good, but just too light -- by english writers since jeffreys (at least his trout is fine) and far less people who knew of WC Hudson than in Japan, where his Far Away and Long Ago and one more on Patagonia, maybe the birds are still available in pocket-book, though he was, as one of his book titles puts it, afoot in england for decades, indeed his entire adulthood and there are dozens of volumes of his essays. Worse yet, even though Penguin in America did a series on nature essayist edited by Hoagland, i'll be damned if the bookstores had them! I could go on for pages, as my main interest for almost a decade was introducing fine nature essays to Japan. But let me make only two more comments and run. First, Prishvin's Nature's Diary printed in English translation by Penguin is the most cheerful book of nature essays i have ever read that i still liked! The Japanese publisher I introduced it to gave it to a translator who happened to be heading for Moscow the next day and he found a Russian version a quarter again larger with wonderful ethnological relations -- so the full version includes man with the fauna and fola of the terrain. I believe the book is much better with the people, but do not blame Hoagland or the translator for the Japanese translator said there were many versions floating around in Russian, so they may not have known. Sorry to get off-track, and thank you for introducing the names of what i anticipate will be fine writers across the Atlantic.

Anyway, I do recommend Prishvin for perspective on writing unlike the Anglo-american style/s. Also, check anthologies to spy out authors you might like. Paul Brooks' Speaking for Nature is well selected, only a bit biased on the speaking for nature (ecological) side than trhe literary side but good for both. The best anthology I have read was of birdwatching essays, but i forget its name . . . 99% of my library is in japan and the names of books i read in notebooks 500 miles away, so i must talk off the top of my head, sorry.

Ah, i forgot to mention what i do have here with me -- the same thing thoreau had with him -- a mountain of my own books which weave naturall history and thousands of translated haiku together: 480 pp nothing but sea cucumber in one (Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!), 740 pp all cherry blossom viewing (cherry blossom epiphany)in another (3000 haiku in that one alone) . I am curious whether people who enjoy nature essays will find them interesting or not and why.

toukokuu 17, 2008, 1:10pm

For some (way) south of the border reading, try anything by Alexander Skutch. Tropical Nature Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America and A Neotropical Companion are both excellent overviews of the New World Tropics.

elokuu 23, 2009, 11:41am

For troubling perspectives on relentless habitat destruction, specifically as it relates to bird life, I recommend Scott Weidensaul's books Living On The Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds, The Ghost With Trembling Wings: Wishful Thinking And The Search For Lost Species and Return To Wild America: A Yearlong Search For The Continent's Natural Soul.

heinäkuu 1, 2016, 8:23pm

I thought I'd try to revive this fascinating topic and Group. Enjoy!