Sunday, October 11, 2015

Industrial Oz

My new book is available from Fomite Press in Vermont. My 95-year-old landlord, who has become like a grandfather, paid the highest compliment: "Scott, if you read these poems, you're going to jail."

I did my best to tell the truth about "our blue jewel planet worn until now by an oil industry harlot." I have guilt saying that as I feel bad about offending harlots.

In 2014 I alienated myself from a large swath of the poetry world when I wrote at the Monarch Review in Seattle, "The National Poetry Series accepting support from Exxon is like God asking Satan if he can spare some change for the cause."  The United Nations Environment Programme notes "Scientists estimate that between 150 and 200 species of life become extinct every 24 hours [, . . . .] the greatest rate of extinction since the vanishing of the dinosaurs” 65 million years ago, and this time humans are causing it.

30% of my royalty is going to so in addition to being more informed, you will be doing something real about the problem.

My hope is a future of technicolor coral reefs, polar bears, narwhals, salmon, and leaping wild orcas. Trading all these for more cyber zeros and ones in banking computer databases seems unwise.

Last week in class an extremely stressed student, working a grammar problem, asked "What if I get it wrong?"

"You go to hell," I replied, and everyone laughed.

However, getting the climate change issue wrong means we are all going to hell in many ways including, but not limited to, food security, water security, financial security, social stability, etc. Even if, by some miracle, temperature increase were limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), Brian Kahn of The Guardian notes, "sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 ft) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process." The response of 147 nations attending the Paris climate summit? 2.7 degrees Celsius

To use the metaphor of an airplane, pilots are drunk, asleep, or missing.

I am grateful for blurbs from Bill McKibben: " — we need the whole brain and the whole heart. Industrial Oz is a rousing, needling, haunting case in point."

Thomas Rain Crowe: "Industrial Oz may just be the most cogent and sustained collection of quality eco-activist poetry ever written in this culture, this country."

Marybeth Holleman: "'Are you really awake?' asks a bumper sticker in an early poem. After reading these poems, you will be."

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