With communities around the world staying home due to the pandemic, there’s been a number of stories documenting unusual and inspiring animal activity, some true and some sensationalized. These stories, as well as some of the questions they’ve elicited from leading nature writers, form the basis for Jessica Gigot’s upcoming workshop, What If the Humans Stayed Home?
In the video below, Jessica shares her thoughts on ecopoetry and the opportunities our current moment offers for strengthening our connections to the natural world, as well as a writing exercise to help you get started writing your own ecopoem.
Jessica’s exercise for writing your own ecopoem:
1. Find a place in the natural world that speaks to you. It could be a tree, a place in the forest, or a greenspace near your apartment or house. While you’re there, write down a list of words that come to you.
2. Go there a second time—this could be anywhere from a few hours to a week later—and start to think about what feelings you have in that place. Write those things down as well.
3. Visit that place a third time, and during that third visit start to craft a poem, thinking about not only the list of what is there in front of you but also the list of feelings and emotions that come up for you in that place.
Jessica Gigot is a poet, farmer, teacher, and musician. She has a small farm in Bow, WA called Harmony Fields that makes artisan sheep cheese and grows organic herbs. Her second book, Feeding Hour, is forthcoming (Fall 2020) from Trail to Table Press, an imprint of Wandering Aengus Press. Her writing appears in several publications such as Orion, Taproot, Gastronomica, The Hopper, and Poetry Northwest.