We constantly are receiving little gifts from writing.”  ~ Kim Stafford

In perhaps the best gift I gave myself this month, I just attended poet/writer/songwriter Kim Stafford’s stellar public talk at the Hood River Library.  Kim is the son of Poet Laureate William Stafford, and like his prolific father, Kim has written 12 books, and more important to this Blog, he writes continually about a sense of place and wonder.

If I were to ask you to name any living songwriters/performers that sing about the natural world, could you come up with any?  With no John Denver nor Pete Seeger alive to serenade us, I am hard pressed to think of others?   The great Canadian children’s minstrel Raffi has a fair repertoire of animal and nature tunes, and Irish folksinger Dougie MacClean certainly features spectacular songs about place…”The Singing Land” I humalmost daily.  So, perhaps I should ask: Are there any American songwriters who focus their works on nature?…  Yes, Wildlife Biologist Ken Bevis is carrying the torch in the Methow Valley just south of Canada.  Thank you Ken!

Consider writing a nature song or two because Lord knows we need to spread the message!

Nature writers like Kim Stafford and the Poet Patriarch Gary Snyder still bless our lives with their works.  And author Joseph Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods” remarkably became a best seller.  Still, when we think of the greatest nature writers, don’t our thoughts turn to Thoreau, Muir, Leopold, and Edward Abbey?   Perhaps through time, Barry Lopez, Wendell Barry, and the greatest environmental educator, Steve Van Matre, will all become even more wide-spread in their readership.

William Stafford wrote daily and his four elements of essential writing are as follows:

1.  Write the date you are putting pen to paper in the upper right hand corner.

2.  Write something you remember, a “Dear Diary” piece.

3.  Step back from your daily experience and write about an idea that comes to you, and what that thought means.

4.  Write “something like a poem,” even if it is a single line.  ~