Writing an Essay, Planting a Tree: An Environmental Writing Workshop
This workshop is part of Social Justice Week.
W.S. Merwin wrote “On the last day of the world/ I would want to plant a tree.” This week will be an experiment in crafting essays that speak from personal experience and a keen attention to our historical moment. Climate change makes clear that environmental and social justice are inextricably linked. How can the personal essay, that most intimate and questioning literary form, speak to the enormity of these challenges? With readings, writing prompts, and workshop discussion, we will write essay or memoir pieces that capture what it means to be alive at this time. No, we won’t be planting trees, except as metaphor for generative process, both personal and political.
Alison Hawthorne Deming's most recent books are Stairway to Heaven (Penguin 2016) and Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit (Milkweed 2014). Her work is widely published, including in Best American Science and Nature Writing and the Norton Book of Nature Writing. She has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, among other honors. She is Regents' Professor and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of Environment and Social Justice at the University Arizona.