Many of us are moved by the non-humans we encounter. But how do we write about our interactions with animals in ways that are full, accurate, and surprising? With today’s developing conversations about animal rights, animal biology/ecology/intelligence, and awareness of humans’ impacts on the lives of animals, we’ll work toward poems that can embrace all of those complicated understandings. In this week-long course we’ll study how others have written animals, the field of ecopoetry, and use those models as templates for our own work. We’ll skirt the treacherous terrain of personification and nudge up to sentimentality (but not enter it); we’ll invent forms sprung from the creatures we study, we’ll make facts sing without bending them and we’ll rage, rage as necessary.
Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of five collections, most recently Toward Antarctica and Theorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro. Cascadia: A Field Guide Through Art, Ecology and Poetry will be published in 2023. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, and her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner Fellowship. Founder of Broadsided Press, Bradfield works as a naturalist/guide and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. www.ebradfield.com