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"Have Spacesuit- Will Travel"

rachelr's picture

I wrote my first web event for this course in iambic pentameter. It is pastoral, romanticizing the passing of time, the activities of nature, and my place in it. Anne questioned my use of a “very conventional poetic form.” For one I like poetry and I like that it can paint a picture without having to have me in it as an active character- I tried to make my voice more passive. It also seemed to me to be structured, like our assignment of the walk was, yet also fluid and wandering, like the walk was. Perhaps I used iambic pentameter to foreshadow our reading of Mentz on Shakespeare’s ecological tongue; or perhaps I simply did not have the words.

Having read the theories and ideas put forth by so many authors on what an ecological tongue or literary style might be, I now have some new tools with which to experiment in my imaginings of the ecological.

Let’s see what comes out when I try a retelling of my walk in a sci-fi mode…



Where weathered rock and flowing water meet

When hot, moist air retreats at summer’s end;

Above, the vivid boughs do speak of fall

While underfoot the earth prepares for sleep.

The sparrow hops upon the iron rail

While under trees cicadas speak their death.



Stepping onto the alien terrain, my eyes taking it all in for the first time, I was greeted by life not so dissimilar from what I was accustomed to seeing. Here could be found the passing of seasons; displayed in the air, on the branches of trees (or what I would call trees, for they were similar in size and shape to what I am accustomed to). The cacophony of sentient sounds assaults my ears as I glance left and right in my own desperate attempts to find the words, the names for what I am surrounded by, trapped by…



Smacholdt's picture

Science fiction in our backyard

The LeGuin /scientific approach is such a relevant one in terms of the environment and ecology. As much as we are part of nature we are also intruders on it. We create things that are not “natural” such as synthetic materials and foods. We build structures like houses that impose upon it. Not only does this alienate nature from us, it alienates us from nature. “Untouched” nature (I put that in quotes because of Bill Mckibben’s idea that the very atmosphere of our planet has been altered by humans) is something that can be very foreign to us.