Course Instructor Days Times Room

Topics Title
Nature Writing: From Genesis to the New Frontier, or, From the Forest to Forestry

A course in which we read and write. And write some more.

  • Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,
  • Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime ... ?
  • Once out of nature I shall never take
    My bodily form from any natural thing,
  • I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
    And vows were not so brittle as they are,
    But so it is, and nature has contrived
    To struggle on without a break thus far,--
    Whether or not we find what we are seeking
    Is idle, biologically speaking.

Nature Writing
In this course we will explore some basic questions:

What is “nature”?
What is “nature writing”?

And attempt to provide some answers:

Creating a dialogue between
Active and Imaginative Experience
Contemplative and Practical Experiencing

Reflecting on Literary Traditions and Scientific Disciplines
Noting how each enhances the other rather than setting up conflict

Building a context for self-discovery

While we practice writing and rhetorical skills:

Confronting sentimentality, personification and teleological assumptions about “Nature”

Un-writing our conditioned responses to “Nature”

Collecting and describing Natural Facts
Performing the physical accuracy of scientific writing

Engaging our Human perception
Presenting imagination and emotions with creative insight

As a result of our questioning and writing:

Seeing significant relations between
Reflecting upon the abstract world of “ideas”
Relating physical realities of the material world.

We write about Nature; with Nature; through Nature to find our way to Nature Writing. By so doing we construct our definitions of nature and nature writing.

Each student should keep a journal that includes all written assignments; reflections upon our reading; descriptions and contemplations of “nature”; and notes and queries concerning ideas and questions that occupy your attention and the attention of the class.