Nature writing is about far more than beautiful, Romantic-inspired description—but at the same time, didactic or vituperative pieces about humans’ failure to protect the environment global warming can sometimes feel more performative than productive. But there are ways to write about and around the natural world that enact a fundamentally different relationship with it. In this class, we’ll learn how contemporary writers and poets are taking innovative new approaches to writing about animals, the environment, and global warming.
We’ll discuss ways to make our nature-inspired writing more dynamic on both a critical and a craft level. We’ll explore ethical questions around animal metaphors, and read work by such writers as Vievee Francis, Ross Gay, and Richard Powers that will inspire new strategies. Over the course of the class, we’ll generate new work in the genre of our choice that pushes our work toward a critical engagement with the natural world—and our relationship with it—and we’ll have the opportunity to workshop these pieces with our peers.
Erin L. McCoy’s poetry and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in the American Poetry Review, Narrative, Bennington Review, Conjunctions, Pleiades, and other publications. Her work has appeared in the "Best New Poets" anthology twice, selected by Natalie Diaz and Kaveh Akbar, and she was a finalist for the Missouri Review’s 2021 Miller Audio Prize. Erin is an assistant poetry editor at Narrative, a proofreader at Penguin Random House, and acquisitions editor for Seattle-based independent publisher Entre Ríos Books. She holds an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic studies from the University of Washington, and is from Louisville, Kentucky. Her website is erinlmccoy.com.
Erin is new to The Porch. Welcome!