Lucille Lang Day is one of the thoughtful minds behind Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, along with Ruth Nolan who appeared on this site a few years back. In this guerrilla reading of her poem “Muir Woods at Night,” recorded during a visit to Muir Woods in February 2019, nature shows its power to inspire ladybugs, salmon, and poets.
Day has published ten poetry collections and chapbooks. She is also coeditor of Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California and the author of two children’s books and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story. Her writing has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and her many honors include the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature, the Blue Light Poetry Prize, two PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Awards, and nine Pushcart nominations. Day is also the founder of Scarlet Tanager Books, publisher of Fire and Rain. All profits from sales of the book will be donated to environmental organizations.
Much more at lucillelangday.com.
Poet, songwriter, and environmentalist Kirk Lumpkin recently retired and now lives with his wife on 80 acres of undeveloped land in Mendocino County in Northern California. After two years of managing their land for forest health, wildlife diversity, and to reduce the possibility of a catastrophic wildfire, he realized he needed to get a better attitude toward poison oak, because he was spending a lot of time with it. So he started with Kate Marianchild’s book Secrets of the Oak Woodland which he quotes from in the introduction to the poem.
Now he’s a State Certified Naturalist and writing poetry about the itchy vine. For this guerrilla reading he stands in front of a crawling expanse of the stuff in its lovely red phase.
Lumpkin’s poem, “To Poison Oak,” appears in Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, edited by Lucille Lang Day and Ruth Nolan. [Full disclosure: two of my poems appear in the anthology.] If you want to learn more about California’s environment and humans’ complicated relationship with it, poets are a great place to start.
In fact, poison oak is an excellent place to begin.