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A Evening of Poetry featuring John Lane and J. Drew Lanham
John Lane is professor of English and Environmental Studies at Wofford College and director of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, with his latest, Coyote Settles the South, selected as a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal in Natural History Writing. A member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors, Lane is one of the co-founders of Spartanburg’s Hub City Writers Project.
In the story of the earth, geologists tell us that around 12,000 years ago the planet shifted from the Pleistocene to the Holocene. There probably were poets to sing about that change, but of what they sang, we have no records. Even earlier, paintings on cave walls point toward an artistic response from our upstart species. These early artists painted the Pleistocene’s last great ice age herds thundering past. Now John Lane’s traveling geologist sings a dawning epoch’s blues. The Anthropocene is upon us, and his poems show how humans believe they have become “the planet’s boss, the big chief, the emperor of air, diesel fuel,/bow thrusters, and tax shelters…” And if you don’t believe the times are changing, consider these poems—full of dead-on-the-road groundhogs and radial tires, carbon-spewing adventure travel, masturbating parrots, and mounds and mounds of garbage—as twenty-first-century objective correlatives John Keats might recognize. But all is not collapse out there. The puny human voice William Faulkner praised in his Nobel acceptance speech sings amidst the 6th Great Extinction. These lyrics and narratives deposit the pleasures of contemporary poetry in the carbon record.
A widely published author and award-nominated poet, J. Drew Lanham writes about his experiences as a birder, hunter and “wild, wandering soul.” Lanham is a member of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, South Carolina Audubon, Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote and the American Birding Association. He is also an inaugural fellow of the Audubon-Toyota Together Green initiative, a 2016 National Science Teachers Association Brandwein Fellow and a member of the advisory council for the North American Association of Environmental Education.
Sparrow Envy is renown naturalist J. Drew Lanham’s first collection of poems. The chapbook explores his obsession with birds and all things wild, now relaunched and available through Hub City Press. Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature, and a title forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.