Michigan based poet Keith Taylor has been an astute and sympathetic observer of nature and the human condition for decades.
His dedication to teaching, writing, reading, and commenting on life and nature through his work has had a profound impact on me, for sure, but I believe for all of us dedicated to the mission of understanding this world in which we live.
I came across this wonderful post from naturechange.org featuring a brief interview with Keith Taylor by Anne-Marie Oomen, also a writer. Keith talks about his work at the University of Michigan Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan, and reads a bit of his work.
Why exactly does poetry enrich us so? Yet, why do so many find it inaccessible, alien, unwelcoming? Boring? Why do we so easily accept the fragmentation of society and of our own selves? Fostering a dialogue with those outside our areas of interest, our areas of study, our cultural moorings-why has this become so difficult, or was it always this difficult?
Keith’s work, especially, the work highlighted here at the U-M Biological Station in which he spends summers, writing as well as teaching a literature course to science students and researchers, is an effort to bridge the chasm of confusion and apathy, intolerance and exhaustion. Quite simply, to become a bit more integrated and wholly human.
Nature allows us to slow down, to pause, to contemplate, to heal- at its best poetry does that as well.
It allows us to access that deeper part of our psyches that contains wisdom, perhaps an attribute all too often not appreciated in our age of hyper-connectivity and instantaneous, yet superficial gratification.
Science, at its best too requires a deep concentration, a sense of observation and curiosity about the natural order of things, used to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.
For those of you seeking a bit of the healing power of nature, poetry, and how poetry and science can engage in a nuanced and beneficial dialogue, please check out this wonderful post and video.
For more information about Keith Taylor, please check out his website.
For more poetry, consider the work of Robert Fanning, click here please.
Questions for Discussion
- How has poetry, or a specific poem impacted you?
- What does Keith Taylor say about the interaction of poetry, nature and science?
- What does he mention about the presence of wolves in Michigan’s lower peninsula?
- How does Keith Taylor integrate the work of mammalogist, Dr. Phil Myers into his work?
- What do you think of the specificity of images in Taylor’s brief, powerful poem, “Not the Northwest Passage?”
- What does Keith Taylor say about optimism, especially related to E.O. Wilson’s work?
- Have a poem to share?