Introduction to ‘Earth Poems’

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1965


My provocation as guest editor for this new issue of Not Very Quiet, ‘Earth Poems’, focused on the woman who ignited the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson. Carson alerted the world to the dangers of DDT and pointed out (in the mid-1960s) that ‘we live in an age of rising seas … a startling alteration of climate’. As I noted in the provocation, the springboard for Carson’s superb writing was her keen observation of, connection with, and deep love for the natural world.

When creating this issue (working in concert with founding editors Sandra Renew and Moya Pacey), I looked for strong, original, well-crafted poems that explore the connections women have with the earth, and the energy and joy that can come from these connections. I wanted ‘Earth Poems’ to highlight the extraordinary nature of the planet we live on, the planet we are – in the most literal sense – made of; to offer a counterpoint to the bleak outlook we see so often (albeit with good reason) in the media; to remind us of what it is that we want to foster and preserve.

The diverse poems in this issue celebrate the natural world, drawing our attention to the details. To the welcome release of heat from the ground at the end of a sunny day. To some of our co-inhabitants – lichen, flame lilies, eucalypts; rabbits, a barn owl, the dusky grasswren. To particular habitats – the sea, the wild dry land out west, the talking sky. To particular places – a New Zealand beach, a New York City garden – and to the ways we interact with them, and live within them.

I hope these ‘Earth Poems’ bring you delight, solace and sustenance.

Tricia Dearborn
Guest Editor, Issue 5