Monthly Archives: December 2010

Language for the Land

“The lack of language to adequately express our love of the land is the clearest indication that, despite our enormous successes in saving land across the country, we are losing the battle for the souls of America.” — Peter Forbes, author of The Great Remembering: Further Thoughts on Land, Soul and Society.


I found this quote on the very interesting website for the new field of Conservation Psychology, http://www.conservationpsychology.org/.  Although I empathize, immediately it occurred to me: what is poetry if not a place to express our love of anything, including the land?  Every day poets are rising from their beds and sitting at their desks to write their passion and despair, for the land and more.

Of course there’s always more work to do, more love to express, through poetry, essays, fiction, research, conversation, and activism.

Meanwhile I offer another reading list.  It’s a mere inkling of a list, reading that has touched me in its ability to tell how we love and connect to the land, even as it changes under our feet.  Please add to it as you see fit!

1.  “Wild Geese,” “Some Questions You Might Ask,” “The Journey,” and other poems by Mary Oliver
2.  The Solace of Open Spaces, Heart Mountain, and other books by Gretel Ehrlich
3.  “King of the River,” and other poems by Stanley Kunitz
4.  How Green Was My Valley, novel by Richard Llewellyn
5.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and other plays by William Shakespeare
6.  Land Circle: Writings Collected from the Land, and other books by Linda Hasselstrom
7.  Orion, a bimonthly journal in print and online at http://www.oriononline.org
8.   Wild to the Heart, and other books by Rick Bass
9.  The Log from the Sea of Cortez, and other books by John Steinbeck
10. Desert Solitaire, and other books by Edward Abbey.

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