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Walt Whitman and the Earth
A Study of Ecopoetics
M. Jimmie Killingsworth
University of Iowa Press, 2005
Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
—Walt Whitman, from “This Compost”
How did Whitman use language to figure out his relationship to the earth, and how can we interpret his language to reconstruct the interplay between the poet and his sociopolitical and environmental world? In this first book-length study of Whitman’s poetry from an ecocritical perspective, Jimmie Killingsworth takes ecocriticism one step further into ecopoetics to reconsider both Whitman’s language in light of an ecological understanding of the world and the world through a close study of Whitman’s language.
Killingsworth contends that Whitman’s poetry embodies the kinds of conflicted experience and language that continually crop up in the discourse of political ecology and that an ecopoetic perspective can explicate Whitman’s feelings about his aging body, his war-torn nation, and the increasing stress on the American environment both inside and outside the urban world. He begins with a close reading of “This Compost”—Whitman’s greatest contribution to the literature of ecology,” from the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. He then explores personification and nature as object, as resource, and as spirit and examines manifest destiny and the globalizing impulse behind Leaves of Grass, then moves the other way, toward Whitman’s regional, even local appeal—demonstrating that he remained an island poet even as he became America’s first urban poet. After considering Whitman as an urbanizing poet, he shows how, in his final writings, Whitman tried to renew his earlier connection to nature.
Walt Whitman and the Earth reveals Whitman as a powerfully creative experimental poet and a representative figure in American culture whose struggles and impulses previewed our lives today.

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Way of All the Earth
Anna Akhmatova
Ohio University Press, 2001

Anna Akhmatova is considered one of Russia’s greatest poets. Her life encompassed the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and the paranoia and persecution of the Stalinist era: her works embody the complexities of the age. At the same time, she was able to merge these complexities into a single, poetic voice to speak to the Russian people with whom she so closely and proudly identified.

Way of All the Earth contains short poems written between 1909 and 1964, selected from Evening, Rosary, White Flock, Plantain, Anno Domini, Reed, and The Seventh Book. Intricately observed and unwavering in their emotional immediacy, these strikingly modern poems represent one of the twentieth century’s most powerful voices.


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The Way of the Earth
Matthew Shenoda
Northwestern University Press, 2022
A lyrical collection examines the quotidian beauty that surrounds us despite deep loss and climate crisis

The Way of the Earth is the fourth collection from award-winning poet Matthew Shenoda. In this, his most personal collection to date, he explores the temporal and fleeting nature of human life and the earth we inhabit. Through ruminations on the intersections of culture and ecology, the death of loved ones, and the growing inequities in our midst, Shenoda explores what it means to be a person both grounded to the earth and with a yearning beyond it. Memories of landscapes and histories echo throughout the sensations of the present: the sight of egrets wading in the marshes, the smell of the ocean, a child’s hand nestled in a warm palm. “Time never goes back,” Shenoda writes, “but the imagination must.”

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We Cannot Escape History
Lincoln and the Last Best Hope of Earth
Edited by James M. McPherson
University of Illinois Press, 1995
A classic collection examining Lincoln's commitment to preserving a union, free of slavery

A who's who of Lincoln scholars explores why Lincoln considered the Union the "last best hope of earth" and how his words and deeds have continued to shape the nation through modern times. Focusing on Lincoln's view of American history and his legacy for the United States and the world, this volume demonstrates the complexity of the problems Lincoln faced and the genius of his leadership in preserving the nation while purging it of slavery.

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The Wildest Place on Earth
Italian Gardens and the Invention of Wilderness
John Hanson Mitchell
University Press of New England, 2015
This is the ironic story of how Italian Renaissance and Baroque gardens encouraged the preservation of the American wilderness and ultimately fostered the creation of the world’s first national park system. Told via Mitchell’s sometimes disastrous and humorous travels—from the gardens of southern Italy up through Tuscany and the lake island gardens—the book is filled with history, folklore, myths, and legends of Western Europe, including a detailed history of the labyrinth, a common element in Renaissance gardens. In his attempt to understand the Italian garden in detail, Mitchell set out to create one on his own property—with a labyrinth.

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Wisdom From World Religions
Pathways Toward Heaven On Earth
John Marks Templeton
Templeton Press, 2002

Every religion acknowledges certain spiritual principles and records them in its sacred literature and traditions. This book curates these ancient teachings and shows how they apply to modern life with the help of parables, quotations, and commentaries.

By reading Wisdom from World Religions, people from all walks of life will be inspired to pursue their own spiritual growth and to contemplate questions central to our existence, such as how, through love and creativity, can we be agents of divinity on earth?

Uplifting and instructional, this is a book to be treasured, studied, and practiced.


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Working on Earth
Class and Environmental Justice
Christina Robertson
University of Nevada Press, 2015
This collection of essays examines the relationship between environmental injustice and the exploitation of working-class people. Twelve scholars from the fields of environmental humanities and the humanistic social sciences explore connections between the current and unprecedented rise of environmental degradation, economic inequality, and widespread social injustice in the United States and Canada.

The authors challenge prevailing cultural narratives that separate ecological and human health from the impacts of modern industrial capitalism. Essay themes range from how human survival is linked to nature to how the use and abuse of nature benefit the wealthy elite at the expense of working-class people and the working poor as well as how climate change will affect cultures deeply rooted in the land.

Ultimately, Working on Earth calls for a working-class ecology as an integral part of achieving just and sustainable human development.

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