This Impermanent Earth, the most recent collaborative project of The Georgia Review and the UGA Press, is now available. The book has gathered the best of environmental writing from our pages, and to mark its release we offer two interviews featuring authors from the collection in conversation and reading from their work.
From diverse regions and biotic communities, our interviewees represent a variety of approaches to environmental writing, but they speak in accord about the urgency of their subjects. Exchanges range from writing craft to environmental advocacy, while, most importantly, revealing a deep knowledge about the more-than-human world and a corresponding passion for understanding and defending it.
The Raven and the Volcano
The first episode features Elizabeth Dodd and Robin Patten in a wide-ranging conversation that begins with their particular interest in language—whether indigenous or corvid—and ends in a place of discovery and understanding.
Elizabeth Dodd is an essayist and poet from the Kansas Flint Hills, who teaches at Kansas State University and is the nonfiction editor at terrain.org. Dodd is the author of two poetry collections and three books of nonfiction, including In the Mind’s Eye, which won the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment best book award, and Horizon’s Lens, which contains “Isogloss: Language and Legacy on Mount St. Helens,” Dodd’s contribution to This Impermanent Earth.
Robin Patten is a writer and naturalist who researches, writes, and teaches in the Montana mountains and Scottish highlands. Patten has been a regular contributor to The Guardian, and her work has also appeared in Camas: The Nature of the West, Montana Outdoors, and The Mindful Word. Her essay “The Carcass Chronicle”—also in This Impermanent Earth—won the 2019 John Burroughs Nature Essay award.
A Thing with Feathers
The authors for the second program—Susan Cerulean and Catherine Reid—consider both analytical and affective approaches to threats to the planet and the attendant danger to the succor that the natural world offers, in times of both inspiration and grief.
Susan Cerulean is an activist and naturalist who researches and writes about the Florida Gulf Coast lowlands and littoral. Among her several books are I Have Been Assigned the Single Bird: A Daughter’s Memoir, Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change, and Tracking Desire: A Journey after Swallow-Tailed Kites. She is a founding board member of Heart of the Earth, a sustainability and advocacy group, and the Red Hills Writers Project. Cerulean designed Florida’s Nongame and Watchable Wildlife Programs and was named Environmental Educator of the Year by the Governor’s Council for a Sustainable Florida.
Catherine Reid is an essayist, teacher, and naturalist based in North Carolina’s mountain region. She most recently taught and directed the creative writing program at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Her nonfiction books include The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home, and Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst. A creative writing fellow at such places as the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Reid is also a recipient of individual artist awards from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.