Friday, 20 of October of 2017

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Report: Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival is Alive and Well

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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!
 
 
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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?

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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.)


Walkin’ Jim – Evangelist for Wilderness

 

Early days of Armed with Visions website was everpresent with Walkin’ Jim

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Poems of a poet who has walked as far as John Muir:
Rock Dream, Bull River Woods, Bat Cave, and Joshua Tree.

walkin_jim_coloby Dennis Fritzinger

I first met Walkin’ Jim Stoltz at an Earth First! Rendezvous. A very tall, lean, lanky man with incredible musical talent, I had never heard of him before. Then, Earth First! was a magnet with a vision that drew incredible musical and other talents to it.

Walkin’ Jim was exceptional in many ways. An accomplished guitarist and songwriter with a twinkle in his eye, he had a singing voice that was like no other’s — deep, raspy, colorful, it was quite unlike his speaking voice. It reminded me of the canyons he sang about; there was a quality of wildness in it, a quality of the wilderness itself.

Jim would go on these many mile hikes and hike for hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles across the U.S. — through canyons, over mountains, across prairies — following rivers, daring mountain passes, surviving heat and snow and encounters with large animals, and he took it all in — he took every bit of it in. Jim was a minstrel for wilderness, an evangelist, and his songs, filled with stories and sounds, reflect that, and continue to inspire us to this day.

“In his lifetime, he accomplished numerous long-distance treks including the complete lengths of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, an east-to-west cross-continent hike, the entire U.S. Continental Divide, trips from Yellowstone to the Yukon, and many others. In total, he hiked more than 28,000 miles of long-distance trips.” –Legacy.com

Jim hiked more in a year than I have in my lifetime, and went more places than I ever dreamed of. As he was hiking a trail somewhere, a song would come to him and he’d sit down under a tree or on a rock and write it down. Or maybe he’d be sitting in the tent he put up at the end of a long day, and amid the preparation for dinner and sleep, he’d pick up his guitar and Jim_in_treestrum a few chords and suddenly a new song would start to materialize in his head and in the air around him. The trees, birds, and little animals that live in rocks got quite a few free concerts from Jim!

Of course Walkin’ Jim wasn’t always out there somewhere walking. Like a latter-day John Muir he would return to home base now and then. John Muir we associate with Yosemite, but home base for Muir was in the Bay Area. It was there he wrote his books and articles that became so influential. Jim’s base was with his family in Montana. That’s where he returned to rest up, to organize his latest songs and poems and share them first with friends and relatives, and to replenish. It was also where the schedule for his many singing tours began, complete with slide show and many slides. Thanks to the magic of photography, he could show his audience he wasn’t just making it up.

An evangelist has to evangelize, and to do that you have to entertain. Even more than a John Muir, Jim was a latter-day kokopelli traveling America’s heartland, though with a guitar instead of a flute. I make this comparison because kokopelli always has a backpack, though it’s hard to tell from the drawings if he was as tall.

Jim was able to entertain because he was a superb storyteller. Humorous, he had the sort of voice that could keep you rapt in attention, just as you would be if you were hearing it at a campfire. Jim had the ability to turn a large concert hall into an intimate space, much like a campfire. The slides and the songs would transport you, and he’d always throw in an appeal to write a letter in support of some place or critter somewhere that needed help. That’s the evangelist side of the entertainer.

When we lost Jim we lost a powerful presence, a powerful voice for the wilderness, and I lost a good friend.

The Kid for the Wild Scholarship is a tribute to the memory and vision of Walkin’ Jim Stoltz and his “kid for the wild” spirit.
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