Earth-house: an ecopoetics of community and creativity.

Ecology is the “study of the house,” and for us it means connecting with the earth community in the ongoing pulse and flow of creation. We embrace the creativity and diversity of the planetary home we cherish and share. But what about poetics?

Poetics deepens our experience of wild places and creatures with the quality of our attention. Composing a simple poem in the woods or in a meadow by a river or pond or tadpole puddle can draw us in and stretch our souls. We write not about nature but as nature, finding wildness inside out.

Each Earth-house retreat will be guided by TNS faculty and will include a wilding activity, poetry prompt, and readings from poets we love. In the rich biodiversity of our planet we find a diversity of voices; in silent walking and still reflections we begin to hear what they have to say. One need not be a poet or experienced hiker to join us — only an adult human seriously in love with nature, the joys of a quiet walk and long moments of deep listening. The number of participants is kept small to grow intimacy and creativity.

June 2021 Earth-house retreats will meet in Iowa’s southern Loess Hills. Our summer poetry readings will be drawn from two anthologies: Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Poetry (Camille Dungy, ed.) and When the Light of the World Was Subdued Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry (Joy Harjo ed.). These wonderful texts and we recommend them for further reading. We also recommend Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Alison H. Deming and Lauret E. Savoy, eds.). 

Summer Faculty: Billie Shelton, Joelle Wellansa Sanfort, Laura Johnson Dahlke, Katie Sutko Twit, and Jack Phillips, convener.

For more information and to find out if Earth-house retreats are right for you, contact Jack Phillips at Jackphillips@thenaturalistschool.org  /402.571.7460.