Poetics of the Forest

Event description: 

February 21, 2024

Online at 12pm EST

Introductions by Amy Brady and Gary Dunning

Featured author: Ellen Bass

Moderator: Mary Evelyn Tucker

The Forest School at the Yale School of the Environment, the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, and Orion Magazine present the fifth event in a series to celebrate Orion’s anthology, Old Growth. “The Poetics of Forests” features a conversation between the award-winning poet Ellen Bass (Indigo and Like a Beggar) and Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author of Journey of the Universe and co-director of Yale’s Forum on Religion and Ecology.

The event centers on a dialogue around the poetic dimensions of forests, including how the old growth forests near Ellen Bass’s home in Santa Cruz have inspired her own work, and how poetry as a genre can help give form to the many socio-cultural meanings of the forest.

The event continues a series celebrating the release of Old Growth: The Best Writing About Trees from Orion Magazine. Prior events in the series featured Robin Wall Kimmerer, Robert Macfarlane, David G. Haskell, Peter Wohlleben, Jessica J. Lee, Sumana Roy, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Kathleen Dean Moore, and Lacy Johnson.


Among Ellen Bass’s poetry collections are Indigo (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), and Mules of Love (BOA 2002). Among her awards are Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Lambda Literary Award, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and many other journals. With Florence Howe, she co-edited the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! (Doubleday, 1973), and she co-authored the groundbreaking, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins, 1988) and Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth—and Their Allies (HarperCollins). A Chancellor Emerita of the Academy of American Poets, Bass founded poetry workshops at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz jails, and teaches in Pacific University’s MFA program. She offers online Living Room Craft Talks on many aspects of the craft of poetry that are applicable to prose writers as well. You can find out more at ellenbass.com.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology with John Grim at the Yale Center for Environmental Justice. Together they have written Ecology and Religion and created six online classes on Coursera titled, “Religions and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community.” They are also executive producers of the Emmy Award winning film Journey of the Universe and creators of three Coursera courses on the film, the book, and Thomas Berry.

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