Next Big Thing

Poet, professor, and co-editor of The Ecopoetry Anthology Ann Fisher-Wirth plays a little blog tag with us. She was tagged by the wonderful poet Sharon Dolin, and here she shares a quick Q&A about how The Ecopoetry Anthology came to be.

What is your working title of your book?

I’m blogging about The Ecopoetry Anthology, just released by Trinity University Press. It is coedited by Laura-Gray Street and me, and it has a splendid long introduction by Robert Hass.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve been a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment for about twenty years. I teach poetry workshops, poetry seminars, and courses in environmental literature at the University of Mississippi, where I also direct our minor in environmental studies. More than six years ago I got the idea to do an anthology of ecopoetry—but the size, shape, and focus of it changed radically several times, as Laura-Gray and I gradually discovered what we wanted to do.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Ecopoetry Anthology is, as the title says, an anthology of poems.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Now that would be hard to do! But if we got to have scenes of my coeditor Laura-Gray and me laboring over the manuscript, I’d be quite happy if Julie Christie could put on an American accent and play me. Just sayin’.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Ecopoetry Anthology includes American nature poetry from Whitman to about 1960, and American ecopoetry from about 1960 (when the term began to gain parlance) to the present; over 200 poets are included in this nearly 700-page book.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

The anthology is published by Trinity University Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My coeditor Laura-Gray Street and I worked on this book, with a lot of collaboration with our publisher, the poet Barbara Ras, for nearly six years.

What other books would you compare this anthology to?

There are several other ecopoetry anthologies. I’m thinking in particular of Black Nature, edited by Camille Dungy, and The Arcadia Project, edited by Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep. Our anthology complements these; all three are excellent, and it’s quite different.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to discover and bring together a wide and deep variety of poetic responses to the environmental crisis. It’s very exciting to see The Ecopoetry Anthology in print. There is so much in it, and anyone who cares about American poetry and anyone who is concerned about environmental issues will find much to love in this beautiful, groundbreaking book.

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