Independent Minds, Working Together

Faculty-at-Large Lecture Series Opens with Talk by Daniel Bourne

Professor of English to speak on Feb. 21 at The College of Wooster

February 14, 2013 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Daniel Bourne, poet and professor of English at The College of Wooster, will discuss “Echoes of Eco-: Environmental Reverberations in Three Decades of Poetry-Making” at the first Faculty at Large lecture of the spring semester on Thursday, Feb. 21, at The College of Wooster. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11 a.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.).

In his talk, Bourne will discuss many of the “environmental” poems he has published from the mid-80s through today — ranging in terms of place from Ohio and Illinois farmland to the deserts of the American Southwest to the rivers of Communist-era Poland. In depicting this growing concern within his work about the fascinating as well as troubling interface between the human and the natural world, he will also address how poems create a ground of their own, one that involves the reader’s world as well as that of the writer.

“One of the challenges that both poetry and fiction writers face is that their message is not just limited and isolated ‘creativity’ on the part of the writer,” he said. “The language of one person thus plays with the language of someone else: there is a resonance (or even a clash) with other people's experiences, other people's stories.”

The poems presented will explore how disturbing the natural world can also disturb the interior human landscape. “I'm interested in recognizing fragmentations rather than to claim any true human/natural intersections,” said Bourne. “Above all, through these poems, I have intended to ask questions that might not have happy answers: about our relationship to land, about our relationship to animals, about our relationship to ourselves.”

“The Last Bestiary,” one of Bourne’s poems that was featured last year in Guernica, an on-line journal of international art and politics, will be one of the works included in the lecture, exploring not just the prospect of the continued disappearance of animal species within our own times, but also a die-off of human languages as well.

Bourne joined Wooster’s faculty in 1988. He specializes in poetry- and fiction-writing, the translation of Polish literature, and environmental writing and studies. He received his B.A in comparative literature and history (1979) and his M.F.A. from Indiana University (1987). He is the recipient of four poetry fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, most recently in 2004-2005, and he has published two books of poetry: The Household Gods and Where No One Spoke the Language. He has also contributed his poems and translations to such journals as American Poetry Review, Field, Salmagundi, Partisan Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Ploughshares. As founding editor of the literary journal Artful Dodge, he was awarded the Ohioiana Library Association's Award for Editorial Excellence in 1992.

Wooster’s next Faculty at Large lecture will be Tuesday, March 5, when Amber Garcia, associate professor of psychology at Wooster, presents “The Story of Them: Examining Factors that Influence Perceptions of Dyads.”

Additional information about the Faculty at Large lecture series is available by phone (330-263-2576) or e-mail.