To the White Sea

images.jpgLet’s go back to the early 1970’s. I came home from work with a fresh, crisp paperbound copy of Deliverance by James Dickey.

I had stumbled upon Dickey in the public library and had read his first three volumes of poetry. Then he showed up for a reading at the university and I got more of a sense of what he was like: something that helped me understand his poems a little better (later I would drive across western Virginia and see the oceans of kudzu which also helped understand certain poems).

In graduate school Dickey visited one of my classes, reading his poems and answering student questions which he had probably responded to over and over through the years. I sat in the far back corner of the room nursing an intense desire to relieve myself in the men’s room but the dilemma was how to make it to the door, walk in front of Dickey or behind him. I walked behind him with a meek “excuse me” and was humiliated when one of my favorite contemporary poets humorously accused me of disliking his poems so much that I had to leave the room.

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Mass Extinction

Sometimes when you listen to the reactionary diatribe denying global warming you might notice a tendency to ignore the reality of climate change and focus on the argument that it is a natural part of life on earth. The backstory here is that global warming is not man-made and there is no reason for the big corporations to cut back on their plundering of the earth:  smokestacks should be allowed to spew pollutants into the atmosphere, automobiles should not be restricted by clean-air advocates, chemicals are good for the rivers, bigger air conditioners and bigger furnaces and bigger electrical plants and more offshore drilling for oil are all good for the bottom line of the corporations and shouldn’t be restricted by the doom-sayers of climate change.

I have always chuckled over this argument: the conservatives are not against destroying the planet … they’re just against anyone telling them it’s their fault.

Now I read an article in the May 3/10 issue of Newsweek titled Can Humans Survive? by Annalee Newitz. The premise  is:  Five mass extinction have nearly wiped out life on earth and the sixth is coming.

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