If after waking this morning you noticed a palpable buzz in the air, fear not for your senses do not deceive you and your coffee is not to blame. Today is simply a big day. As you are almost certainly aware after three weeks of non-stop poetic feasting, National Poetry Month is still going strong. What’s more, today is Earth Day, and when two celebrations of this magnitude converge, the resulting super holiday demands proper commemoration. Thankfully, we have the wonderfully unique poetry collection News of the Universe with which to mark this worthy occasion. Whether you’re looking to motivate your first reducing, reusing, and recycling efforts, to renew your vow to live a leaner, greener lifestyle, or to simply read some breathtaking poetry, News of the Universe is a book that will leave you awestruck and inspired.
First commissioned by the Sierra Club in 1980, News of the Universe was originally envisioned as a straightforward anthology of ecology-related poems. In the hands of poet Robert Bly, however, the project grew into something much more. Acting as editor, essayist, translator, and poet, Bly crafted a highly original and philosophical work that advocates for a greater human connection to and respect for the Earth. In News of the Universe, nature is not merely the setting for our daily human drama, but a community of animals, plants, water, and objects that possess an “intelligence” and a “soul” that are inextricably linked with our own. To track the evolution of this environmentally-enlightened viewpoint, Bly collected 150 poems from across the centuries and the globe by such poets as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Holderlin, Rainer Maria Rilke, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Gary Snyder, and Rumi. Artistically speaking, the chosen poems are both beautiful and musical, and as an environmental call-to-arms, they are a revelation. They will stir your spirit, spur your conservation efforts, and forever change how you think of that tree outside your window. You can sample a bit of this magic below in the trio of shorter poems selected from Bly’s book. After that, check out News of the Universe in its entirety. It will inspire you to make today’s super holiday a year-round celebration.