Orion Writers, Elsewhere (Too)

We’re pleased to see our colleagues at The Georgia Review putting literary excellence to work on the environment.

The Spring 2009 issue, released yesterday, includes work by five environmental writers gathered under the title, “Culture and the Environment: A Conversation in Five Essays.” This special feature’s keynote piece, Scott Russell Sanders’ “Simplicity and Sanity,” puts forward a wide-ranging examination of humankind’s relationship to the natural world and argues for its radical overhaul.

Reg Saner’s “Sweet Reason, Global Swarming” embraces Sanders’ fears for the literal survival of the human race but gives the argument a different center — one that conjures a dark figure from all of our high school history classes, Thomas Malthus, whose lone claim to renown is a theory we have let slip into the background while confronting myriad more immediate-seeming dangers. David Gessner then confronts Sanders with “Against Simplicity: A Few Words for Complexity, Sloppiness and Joy,” claiming that his sometime-mentor/idol may be entering the fray with the wrong weapon in hand. Lauret Edith Savoy, in “Pieces toward a Just Whole,” initially lauds Sanders’ position but concentrates the bulk of her essay on certain racial and economic factors that she believes are being overlooked in virtually all discussions of environmental catastrophe. Alison Hawthorne Deming’s “Culture, Biology, Emergence,” the most sweeping of the five essays in this conjured five-way conversation, moves across eons of time and many disciplines of study to reach a conclusion that is, paradoxically, more desperate and more hopeful than those presented by her four compatriots.

The environmental focus of this issue also includes poetry by Margaret Gibson and Maxine Kumin among others, as well as an essay-review by Jeff Gundy that examines new work by Elizabeth Dodd, Barbara Hurd, and Capbell McGrath.

For more information, go to The Georgia Review’s website.