Anne Waldman

October brings with it the season of harvest and an opportunity to reconnect with and celebrate the earth. Below you'll find poems that speak to the natural world, an essay by Muriel Rukeyser on poetry as an agent of change, and a video of Wendell Berry, exclusive to the Academy of American Poets, reading a poem that ruminates on the peace nature brings.

 Wendell Berry reading

Wendell Berry: Poet & Prophetan interview with Bill Moyers airing on public television stations across the country starting October 4, the poet Wendell Berry discusses his life and work as a passionate advocate for the earth. Take a look at this clip, exclusive to the Academy of American Poets, from the program of Berry reading his poem "The Peace of Wild Things." 

Poems About Nature 
"Field" by Erin Belieu
"Pastoral" by Jennifer Chang
"Birches" by Robert Frost
"October" by Louise Glück 
"The Eighties" by Brenda Hillman
"What Does E Stand For?" by E. Ethelbert Miller
"Home to Roost" by Kay Ryan
"Under the Harvest Moon" by Carl Sandburg
"Crossings" by Ravi Shankar
Poetry as an Agent of Change 

In her book of essays The Life of Poetry, Muriel Rukeyser thinks about poetry as an essential agent of change, one with the ability to make life on earth better. Here is an excerpt titled "The Fear of Poetry."


Further Reading
Ecopoetry Anthology
The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity University Press, 2013) includes hundreds of poems, by a wide range of American poets, about the environment and our place in it. The book opens with an introduction by former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass.





Arcadia Project

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta Press, 2013), edited by poets Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep, features poems in the pastoral genre as it has evolved in the twenty-first century. Sections include New Transcendentalisms, Textual Ecologies, Local Powers, and Necro/Pastoral.





Norton Book of Nature Writing  

The Norton Book of Nature Writing (W. W. Norton, 2002) is a comprehensive collection of essays on the subject, some of which are written by contemporary poets, including Wendell Berry, Jim Harrison, Maxine Kumin, and Gary Snyder. Also included is a field guide of valuable resources for both teachers and students.

Poets Forum Panel: Contemporary Practices of Ecopoetics

At the seventh annual Poets Forum, October 24-26 in New York City, Academy Chancellors Jane Hirshfield, Arthur Sze, and C. D. Wright will be discussing poetry and the natural world on a panel titled "Contemporary Practices of Ecopoetics." Please join us for that discussion.


The Academy of American Poets Presents:
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Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit