A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia
University of Georgia Press, 2019
Getting acquainted with local flora and fauna is the perfect way to begin to understand the wonder of nature. The natural environment of Southern Appalachia, with habitats that span the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland Plateau, is one of the most biodiverse on earth. A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia ― a hybrid literary and natural history anthology ― showcases sixty of the many species indigenous to the region.
Ecologically, culturally, and artistically, Southern Appalachia is rich in paradox and stereotype-defying complexity. Its species range from the iconic and inveterate ― such as the speckled trout, pileated woodpecker, copperhead, and black bear ― to the elusive and endangered ― such as the American chestnut, Carolina gorge moss, chucky madtom, and lampshade spider. The anthology brings together art and science to help the reader experience this immense ecological wealth.
Stunning images by seven Southern Appalachian artists and conversationally written natural history information complement contemporary poems from writers such as Ellen Bryant Voigt, Wendell Berry, Janisse Ray, Sean Hill, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Deborah A. Miranda, Ron Rash, and Mary Oliver. Their insights illuminate the wonders of the mountain South, fostering intimate connections. The guide is an invitation to get to know Appalachia in the broadest, most poetic sense.
Red Bird Chapbooks, 2018
8.5" x 5.5" single signature with hand sewn binding
In Shift Work, Laura-Gray Street explores the often overlooked role of women and femininity in the historical struggle for dignity in work. She treats poetics as as much a form of labor as textiles. The threads connect to create a collection that is at once personal and historical, abstract and grounded, in the factory, in the home, and as bloody as needlework can be.
Pigment and Fume
Salmon Poetry, 2014
The poems of Pigment and Fume explore, scavenge, celebrate, and interrogate—by hook and crook, riff and raff, physics and ekphrastics, instinct and ecstasy—the natural world and the nature of our relationships. If ecology is the study of the planetary household, Pigment and Fume studies literal and metaphorical houses poem by poem and builds them toward a larger, ever-entangling whole.
Bristling both with linguistic and psychic energy, weighed down by the detritus of the daily, there’s nothing personal about these very personal poems: the radiating I/eye is bathed in landscape, but the environment’s never reduced to nature as the Emersonian familiar. Everywhere dense, intelligent qualification, everywhere music and rangy diction charged with the overloaded agitation that defines our time.
Perhaps the best word to describe these extraordinary poems is “entanglement.” Entanglement of the veins of knowledge— science, religion, art. Entanglement of relationships—human, animal, plant. Entanglement of imagery—the environment in many of its natural and artificial permutations. Of strains of music in the language, of darkness and light, mystery and clarity.
Street is an accomplished poet in terms of technique, moving fluidly between lyrical, disjunctive and found forms of language and dipping into a wide palette of formal and experimental poetic techniques. She covers the full push-and-pull range of our relationship to the environment around us with a clear-seeing, uncompromising eye and flashes of wit.
The Ecopoetry Anthology
Trinity University Press, 2013
As the critic R. P. Blackmur said, poetry “adds to the stock of available reality.” In The Ecopoetry Anthology, editors Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street present hundreds of poems that add to our reality about the natural world, its beauties and its degradations. This groundbreaking collection has the capacity to transform people's lives aesthetically and politically. Poetry's eloquent and ineffable power can work to enhance our understanding of the world beyond the human and lead us to act with more respect, humility, and stewardship toward the environment.
The poets collected here, of wide-ranging talents, backgrounds, and beliefs, speak in many voices to reinforce the most critical story of our time: that we must love and care for the planet and appreciate the integrated biological beauty that sustains us, or lose the only world we've got.
Some key features:
The Ecopoetry Anthology is the most comprehensive collection yet of American poetry about nature and the environment, stressing our relationship to the other-than-human world
Includes an introduction by the former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass
Begins with a historical section (mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century) of more than 80 poems by 30 poets—from Walt Whitman to Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, Muriel Rukeyser, and Denise Levertov
Contains an alphabetically arranged contemporary section includes work written from 1960 onward providing voices relevant to our natural world and its challenges
Contains 320 poems by 176 poets as diverse as John Ashbery, Wendell Berry, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Lucille Clifton, Louise Erdrich, Joy Harjo, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Tony Hoagland, W. S. Merwin, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, Donald Revell, Ed Roberson, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Gary Snyder, and C. D. Wright