Sunday, 17 of December of 2017

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Report: Watershed Environmental Poetry 2017

By Dennis Fritzinger

This year’s Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival kicked off with a guided walk along Strawberry Creek, the Creek that runs through Cal campus and was the original reason for Cal being sited on this spot.

I got to the meeting spot just past ten, a few minutes late but in time to hear most of what our first stop had to offer. Then hiking around, crossing the creek at one point (no easy task in my sandals), hiking down to look at a pool with urban fish in it, discussing the effort to clean out invasive ivy and Himalayan Blackberry, and chatting with my fellow hikers as we walked along. This went on until it was almost noon, which is when the Watershed Main Event was supposed to start, the Main Event being the rest of the day with featured poets, kid poets, music by the Watershed Band, and so forth. Since it costs to put on this event each year, fundraising buckets were passed around so the audience could contribute.

All this went on for hours as the sun slowly marched across the sky and we heard poet after poet, many of whom were new to me, and I ran up to give them a Warrior Poet card when they got off stage. That way I got to introduce myself to the poets and share the Armed With Visions site with them.

Besides Robert Haas, on the program were Malcolm Margolin, whose classic The Ohlone Way is still in print, Maxine Hong Kingston, author of Woman Warrior, who treated us to a first-time reading of her haiku, Camille Dungy, Kim Shuck, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Alison Luterman, Tess Taylor, Tiffany Higgins and Rafael Jesus Gonzales.. The day had breadth and variety as well as depth, and seemed, when five o’clock rolled around, to end too soon. Sunny but not too hot, the weather was near perfect and we even got a little bit of a cooling breeze.

The kid poets I mentioned were introduced by John Oliver Simon, director of California Poets in the Schools. There were banners, poetry displays, a sound system, and a large canopy with chairs set up to help you avoid the sun. Some didn’t bother with the canopy and just stretched out in the grass.

It’s always a pleasure to hear poetry with a purpose, not just the expressions of ego of its author. The insights of the poets, came from all directions, so I never felt like I was hearing the same thing being repeated over and over. The kid poets were delightful with their enthusiasm and sense of playfulness. California Poets in the Schools is a great program and deserves our support.

I’ll end with a comment by Kenn Fong, who joined me for this once-a-year event:

“I work in convention hospitality, and recently I attended an Artificial Intelligence conference.

One of the keynoters said that when we communicate, we get 55% of the information non-verbally. We get another 35% aurally. The remaining 9% (allowing for fractions above), is from the actual words itself.

This is why events such as Watershed are so important to us. It’s also why, in this modern age of video communication, tech leaders and workers fly thousands of miles to conferences where I work. The experience of seeing someone one on one with whom you have only shared emails or phone or video calls is a powerful one. I’m not a “woo-woo” type of guy, but just being in the same space with someone has some sort of intangible but real value.

So much of my time is spent with individuals who display no use for (and probably have no experience with) contemplative matters. That it’s important for me to nurture that side of me at least once a year.”


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Report: Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival is Alive and Well

strawberrycreek
This year’s Watershed had great weather — warm sun, cool wind. The featured poets were awesome, especially Jane Hirshfield, who really rocked.

That said, my favorite part was the Creek Walk along Strawberry Creek starting at 10 AM. We got a great presentation by Tim Pine, campus biologist and eco ninja. I learned a lot. We also heard great poems by the Creek Walk poets. Their billing wasn’t as high on the announcement, but the poems they read were totally in tune with the spirit of the day: Stand Up For The Earth.

During the program later several poets gave a shout-out to the Standing Rock People opposing the Pipeline and that was great. Whoever you are, wherever you are, stand up for the Earth!
 
 
hass

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Paul Kingsnorth – How Land Feels

“…as we reached the top of the ridge, a break in the trees opened up and we saw miles of unbroken green mountains rolling away before us to the horizon. It was a breathtaking sight. As I watched, our four guides lined up along the ridge and, facing the mountains, they sang. They sang a song to the forest whose words I didn’t understand, but whose meaning was clear enough. It was a song of thanks; of belonging.

Papua

To the Lani, I learned later, the forest lived. This was no metaphor. The place itself, in which their people had lived for millennia, was not an inanimate “environment”, a mere backdrop for human activity. It was part of that activity. It was a great being, and to live as part of it was to be in a constant exchange with it. And so they sang to it; sometimes, it sang back.

When European minds experience this kind of thing, they are never quite sure what to do with it. It’s been so long since we had a sense that we dwelled in a living landscape that we don’t have the words to frame what we see. Too often, we go in one of two directions, either sentimentalising the experience or dismissing it as superstition.”

Read the entire article here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jul/23/paul-kingsnorth-imagine-how-land-feels


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Update From Warriorpoet Ambassador Joey Racano

Joey Racano

Sunset Prayer Ceremony at Thank You Whales two years ago

Sunset Prayer Ceremony at Thank You Whales two years ago (photo by Jennifer Randall)


My name is Joey Racano and I am a Warrior Poet. As the Founding Ambassador to the Warrior Poets Society, I have been posting on the warriorpoets@yahoogroups listserve for a dozen years now, and it continues to be a grand experience.

I use poetry to raise people’s hackles on issues they should know about as well as to educate. My activism is not all online though – far from it!

This Summer I’ll yet again be organizing the 4th annual Thank You Whales event Aug 15th at Avila Beach on California’s Central Coast. I’m also recording a CD with my band, have recently published a book called Dance to the Apocalypse and am writing, writing, writing!

For more info on my art and other efforts, visit these websites:

oceanoutfallgroup.com
earthsourcemedia.org
www.joeysingstheblues.com

Also learn more about my work at these Facebook pages: Spiritpen, Crow Kung Fu, Lake of Fire, Chronopolis, Stop Navy Sonar Testing,Free Tilly, Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing. 

I’m Proud to be part of this great movement! -Joey Racano


Meet Our Facebook Page Poet, Sid Bridges

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Armed with Visions keeps growing…
 
Today we’d like to introduce you to a remarkable Warrior Poet. He’s a favorite on our website.

Thus far we’ve shared Sid Bridges poems: Techno-Civilization, Born of Myth, Diminishment of Stars and Me and today we posted his poem Our Hubris and Extinctions.

We are grateful for his poetic relentlessness. Since last August on his own initiative he’s posted over 60 quality poems to our Facebook page.

With a prolific effort like that it’s time to thank him and designate him our one and only official Facebook Page Poet.

When we asked Sid for his bio for our about page he wrote us this:

“Born on a farm in North Central Oklahoma. I witnessed small farms disappear due to government policy. Dirt farms became chemical farms.

I saw how the worth of people was dependent on “wealth.” I didn’t like the direction society was headed. There was something amiss with society, or me. Maybe both?

So I became interested in Freudian psychology for answers. A wrong turn, among many. My interest led me to obtain a masters degree in social work and a career in mental health. After retirement I have devoted my time to environmental issues and poetry.”

Thanks for all the great work Robert Bridges, aka: Sid… We look forward to many more poems from you long into the future.


What Species Will You Sing?

poster_tokyo_designer_week

The following is an excerpt from a Douglas Bass blog post.

In February of 2014, I shared a beautiful dream I had. My beautiful dream is for every plant and animal species on earth to have at least one human spokesperson, at least one human advocate, at least one human singer of that species.
 
When I shared that dream, I had no idea whether this dream was possible or not. Between that time and now, I have encountered some numbers regarding this dream.
 
Let’s suppose the number of species is 10,000,000. The earth’s population is 7,137,000,000. That works out to 713 people for each and every species on earth. Some of these species already have advocates, like ducks and pheasants. Many of them do not.

A. D. Chapman said about 10% of the 60,000 vertebrate species were threatened. Perhaps it would be a good thing to focus on those 6,000 species. There are over a million people in the world for each one of those species.

If you’re thinking about advocating for one of those species, this might be a good time to start advocating. Which species will you sing?
ENDANGERED-SPECIES-PREV


Meet Two New Warrior Poet Voices

Spring is fast approaching and Armed with Visions is planning for some early blooming. Our warrior poet society is rapidly increasing in numbers of ecopoetry lovers and many of them want to help us present more ecopoems to you.
 
So we’d like to introduce two new people who have joined us in helping make recordings of poems. They are our first members of Warrior Poet Voices. Here’s a little more information about each of them:

 
 
British Actress Jane Allighan: has 20+ years in theater and movies in UK and she’s helped us with recordings of DH Lawrence’s Snake, as well as Joanna Macy’s Bestiary.

Stay tuned for more poem recordings from Jane in coming months. Also below is a poem she recorded that we’re soon to post:
 
 
 

 
DouglasBass

Douglass Bass: is an enthusiastic poetry reader that we met on Soundcloud. He has 66 poem recordings uploaded to his profile so far.

We are most grateful for Douglas allowing us to use his recording for William Stafford’s Roll Call, which is a primary message inherent in most all ecopoetry.

Additionally, Douglas did a really soothing Brian Eno remix to the voice of Philip Levine in our most recent poem posted called: Our Valley in recognition of the passing of poet laureate Philip Levine.

Douglas’ thoughts are also feature in our most recent blog post here: What Species Will You Sing?
 

~

 
We are very grateful to introduce these two voices to you and we very much look forward two them recording more ecopoems for you to listen to in coming months and years. Long live Warrior Poets!!!


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Joanna Macy on Deep Ecology

Deep Ecology, when it appeared in my life, made immediate sense. To me it is more than a label, it’s the way our world is structured. I take it as a secular equivalent to the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising–and use it that way in my work.

The term was coined by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess to contrast with environmentalism for purely human interests. Deep ecology is both a school of thought (Naess’s ecosophy and Henryk Skolimowski’s ecophilosophy) and a movement (the deep, long range ecology movement, described early on by Bill Devall and George Sessions). Joanna-a-23.03.08

It has also inspired an array of experiential practices: deep ecology work, developed by John Seed, myself, and others. This form of group work helps to decondition us from centuries from culturally induced anthropocentrism, and to heal our broken relationship with the natural world. It’s an intrinsic part of the Work That Reconnects.

My Teachers: As for all of us in deep ecology work, the natural world is our primary teacher. Among key mentors in childhood I count Spotty, a wise horse, and a particular maple tree. From http://www.joannamacy.netmask4

 


Warrior Poet’s Half Dozen Eco Poems

 
 
In the new anthology “Singing School, Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry” Robert Pinsky tells us poets to go back to the masters to learn. It makes sense. You learn film by studying the masters of film, sculpture by studying the masters of sculpture, the culinary arts by studying their masters, and music by studying masters of music. You learn what the forms are By_Dana_Gibsonwithout becoming just an imitator of your contemporaries, which is highly possible if you study them and them alone.

Pinsky warns of the dangers of falling into group-think, of mimicking a voice or style or sensibility because you see it has rewards and you want those same rewards too. Of course the rewards of poetry and particularly eco-poetry have, so far at least, not been great.

Poet activism isn’t exactly a new thing, but in respect to defending nature it almost certainly is. Even poems written long ago that certainly belong in any eco-poetry canon are in the nature of one-offs: outliers in the warrior poetry universe.

Click this link to view the rest of this post by Dennis Fritzinger: Ecopoet’s Top 12 Books
 

Here are your latest poems:


“When i wrapped my arms halfway ’round a doomed grandmother pine at dawn – and, crying, i prayed for her deliverance.”Susan McCampbell Ring – Cove-Mallard2
 
 
 
 
“Something about a fawn gives a doe a special supply of fearlessness”
Steve Toth – Mother Nature

 
 
 
 
“I cannot see the way in this bamboo wood, but the birds sing and there is the chirp and bellow of frogs–”Rayn Roberts – Secrets From Mountains Above Nagoya
 
 
 
 
“i watch you, as the sky, the empty air, no breath. no life. but you. what are you?”Amanda Leigh Maloney - Strange Poem
 
 
 
 
“In the wind-like whistling song of the starling perched. In the golden yellow flashing light of fireflies. In the vast panoramic corridors of consciousness.”Gary Mennie – Skylands
 
 
 
 
“I think this is the prettiest world — so long as you don’t mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn’t have its splash of happiness?”Marry Oliver - Kingfisher


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Rendezvous Wrap-Up by Dennis Fritzinger

West Branch Campground
 
This year’s Round River Rendezvous (known affectionately as the rondy) was held at West Branch campground in Northern California, about 4 miles (so I hear) from Poker Flat.

Advantages of the site were:

1) easy to get to;

2) numerous campsites and workshop sites;

3) a cold creek running through it where we could cool off during the hottest days, and draw our drinking and washing water from (upstream from there).

Kitchen was well-organized and Morning Circles were well-run. Organizationally everything was very smooth.

 
West Branch Campground2
 
 
Several days were in the hundreds, and on those days the nights were warm enough to sleep without a sleeping bag until about 5 AM when things finally cooled off.

We also had a few cooler days for variety, and cooler nights. The entrance road made a big loop when you reached the main camp, and there was a latrine not far away so that was convenient.

Fire danger was high, and fires were only allowed in a few select spots, namely the rowdy campfire and kitchen area. Other spaces made use of tiki torches, and that worked just fine. Rowdy Campfire

There were a fair number of dogs, and that caused problems occasionally, but that’s about par for a rondy. Interpersonal relations generally went very smoothly, but the conflict team was available in case there was a need. Everyone was respectful of the need to keep intoxicants out of the public and family areas, so I didn’t see any problems there.

The rendezvous was multi-generational, from infants up through grandparents, and as far as I could tell everyone self-identified as an Earth First!er except for a reporter or two and a very small contingent of Green Anarchists. General impression? Earth First! is as young as it ever was, it’s only me that’s getting older.

People we know who were there: KP, Garlic, Karen Coulter, Gedden, Rod Coronado, Jonathan Paul, Dana Lyons, Tim Ingalsbee, Dave Parks, Andy Caffrey, Jim Flynn, Chris Manes, Dennis Davie.

Workshops I went to: Deep Ecology, hosted by Gedden, Karen Pickett, and Karen Coulter. Earth First! History, hosted by the two Karens. Ancient DNA, hosted by Dave Parks. Journal, hosted by the Journal Staff. And a workshop on the Mattole.

Mosquitoes? Yes. A few at breakfast, but most came at dinner-time. Except for mosquitoes, butterflies were the most numerous invertebrates. I also saw a dragonfly, a metallic wood-boring beetle with beautiful metallic green wing covers, and a small scorpion that glowed green under Dave Parks’ ultraviolet light.

There was the familiar dawn chorus of birds, but birds seemed to be mostly silent during the day, or maybe I was just too busy meeting people to notice them. Except for birds and humans, there were no vertebrates around that I noticed — no ground squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bears or any other.

Trees: Doug Fir, Hemlock, and Madrone. Understory: raspberries, poison oak, other.

Skies: a few clouds now and then. No rain.

Warrior Poets Society Meeting: four attended.

Welcome Back party for JP and Rod, Friday, July 4th, up at the rowdy fire. We had a good crowd.

Rally, Saturday, July 5th, first two hours were down where we had morning circle every morning, close to the camp kitchen. I tried out some new material. Then we had a break and moved up to the rowdy fire, where it went on into the wee hours. People seemed to enjoy both parts of the Rally. Part one was in a general space so it was alcohol free. Part two had a keg.

EarthFirst
 
Sunday was the Journal Workshop, as well as planning for the Action. I didn’t go to the Action planning so I have no idea where the Action was this year, though my guess is it was at both the Mattole and at Seneca Biomass burner in Eugene.

One thing different about this year’s rondy is the amount of attention we were getting from the LEOs. They were stopping nearly every car that came up, and some were even stopped twice. If they found the smallest infraction they’d search your car, at least that’s what I heard.

So there you have it. My Rendezvous report.

(I should also mention that I brought a bagful of copies of Roadkill on the Highway of Love with me, and in two days I had given them all away.)