New environmental journal: Ecocene

Always nice to see the emergence of a new environmental publication. This one is called Ecocene and is published by the Cappadocia University Environmental Humanities Center. The inaugural issue is free to download — see below: The idea with our first special issue is to inaugurate not just the journal but the kind of key …

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St. Louis Blues: The Broken Heart of America

The cover of The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson features a nearly complete St. Louis Arch, known as the Gateway to the West. It was completed about six years before my family moved to St. Louis and my memories of it consist of squeezing into an egg-shaped elevator and tilting our way up …

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Writing for deer; writing for animals

Summer in Ashland, Oregon, means fawns following their mothers through the streets of our small town. The local deer are, sadly, a contentious issue. Many residents resent their appetites for rose bushes and other flora. Others have accused deer of assault (typically a mother deer’s instinct to protect her fawn). But a major reason we …

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Learning to love weeds: Beyond the War on Invasive Species

Dandelions. Bull thistle. Kudzu. Japanese knotweed. Himalayan blackberry. From front lawns to woodlands, these are among the most despised of plant species. Species that, we are told, are hell-bent on taking over every square inch of soil, crowding out native species, ruining ecosystems, giving gardeners ulcers. But what if everything we know about weeds is …

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Announcing the winner of the Siskiyou Prize

We are delighted to announce that Athena E. Copenhaver is the winner of the 2019 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, for her novel DEEP SHADE.  The award’s final judge, Carol J. Adams (author of The Sexual Politics of Meat) writes: “Awareness of ecocide, environmental devastation, and animal suffering might not seem the likely content for a madcap adventure. That …

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Review: In The Art of Earth Architecture everything old is new again

As an architectural enthusiast, I have long admired Louis Khan. When I first visited San Diego years ago, I made sure to visit The Salk Institute. To see how concrete was used as both structure and frame, guiding my eyes toward the ocean. Kahn inspired me to dream about one day building a home made …

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Book Review: The Great Derangement

With the future state of the planet in question, Amitav Ghosh explores the roles of literature and history in terms of their place in the climate crisis in his book The Great Derangement. Ghosh, a fiction writer who has experienced climate catastrophes in South Asia, structures his argument in three parts: Stories, History, and Politics. …

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Interview with BARN 8 author Deb Olin Unferth

Thanks so much to Deb Olin Unferth for chatting with us about her new novel, Barn 8, released last month from Graywolf Press. EcoLit Books: For your article “Cage Wars,” published by Harper’s in 2014, your research included visiting a commercial egg farm and watching unedited footage of undercover investigations. A lot of information portrayed in the article, …

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In Animal City our painful past is still painfully present

If I asked you to picture a “cow town,” you would probably picture a small town, surrounded by pasture, set far away from the big city. Yet in the 1800s, cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco were also cow towns. It was not unusual to see herds of cows squeezed through downtown streets, …

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