We at EcoLit Books are writers, so the initial impetus for our list of Literary Outlets for Environmental Writing was purely for our own use. But the list has grown over the years and is now one of the most popular pages on the site. We also have heard from writers who’ve discovered new publications from the list — and even found successful home for their work. Like Heather Marie Spitzberg.
Heather’s essay was recently published in Sinking City.
I reached out to Heather to learn more. Here goes…
What inspired your essay?
It is tempting to live where the water meets the land, on overlooks, and in other magical places. Humans expend resources attempting to maintain nature in a static state to accomplish that. But nature fluctuates and it is unreasonable for people to persist in forcing it fit our needs or wants. As more areas become uninhabitable “the last person out” will be the hardest hit. I’m most concerned about disproportionate impacts on lower economic and marginalized individuals who live in these areas without other options. When I saw this sand pump in 2018 and then learned how old it is, decades of experiences I’ve had of humans manipulating their environment, sometimes to terrible ends, gelled into the essay.
What websites/journals/mags do you regularly read to keep up on environmental arts and news?
I’m a big fan of EcoLit Books and the outlets listed there (I swear I’m not pandering). I also follow the ASLE Creative Caucus on Facebook and The Revelator. Orion Magazine and The Sun Magazine are beautiful and have wonderful Instagram feeds. I have also taken advantage of online editorial and instructional programs presented by Driftwood Press and The University of Iowa (Stories of Place). My day job requires me to follow a multitude of environmental news outlets and blogs. My current favorites are Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law blog and the Association of State Wetland Managers blog (given the chaotic state of wetland regulation spanning my entire professional career). For fun I spend an obscene amount of time following raptor, wolf, and cougar trail cam and photography pages.
What is your favorite environmental book and/or author?
Barbara Kingsolver and Wendell Berry immediately come to mind. My favorite nonfiction book is a collection of essays and poetry edited by Lorraine Anderson called Sisters of the Earth. My favorite fiction is Flight Behavior (although The Overstory is currently wowing me).
What are you working on now?
I’m revising two novel-length projects. One is about a woman who gives up her stable life to volunteer for the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program. The second, set against the backdrop of a grassroots political campaign, explores the impact of unprecedented storms and fish stocking programs on trout streams in the Catskills.
I always have a couple of short stories and essays on submission. Right now I’m revising a short story about a woman who becomes angry and desperate when her university forces her to stop her mountain lion corridor research.
About the author
Heather Marie Spitzberg has over twenty years of environmental science, law, and writing experience. She lives in New York’s Capital Region with her husband, twin son and daughter, and rescued dog, Thor.
PS: If you’ve found a home for your writing through EcoLit Books, let us know. We’d love to feature you.