Listen to writers

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday listening to online recordings of some writers at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina. As much as I'm regretting not going (argh! argh!), ASLE is making me feel a bit better by letting everyone listen afterward to the plenary speakers and the subsequent Q&A sessions. So far they've had Bill McKibben, author of the classics The End of Nature and The Year of Missing Information, and Nalini Nadkarni, a brilliant forest canopy biologist who's deeply committed to public communication about environmental issues with a new book coming out called Between Heaven and Earth: Our Intimate Relations to Trees.

Bill McKibben's 50-minute talk is one of the most compelling things I've heard in a while, though his relaxed and mildly self-deprecating style probably isn't for everyone. I'm still processing Nalini Nadkarni's, but her approaches to helping people make sense of complicated data are utterly fascinating: among them, converting data points to musical tones and playing them (data sonification).

And if you're really interested, you can even download a single PDF file that contains all 175 abstracts for papers being presented there. Did I mention how jealous I am about not being there?!?


Personally I am shocked you passed up a conference in South Carolina in June. South Carolina in August, of course, would be a different story.

Have you ever heard those old library of congress recordings of T.S. Eliot and Frost, speaking in their slow and shaky voices?

richard said…
Well, I thought there might be Americans there :-)

No, I just wasn't in the right place to present anything this time around, and when it was time to register, I couldn't justify to myself travelling that far if I wasn't doing something.

Now that ASLE is coming to Victoria in 2009 (yay! yay!), I've been kicking myself for not finding a way to get there. Sigh.

And yes, I have heard some of the old recordings. Great stuff, all of it! Lots of it is online at
a ha ha ha.

That was, like, a golf laugh.

Thanks for the link - you rock!
richard said…
Zoot, I forgot to mention another "listen to great poetry" site: the Poetry Center of Chicago, at More modern than classic, but some good stuff.

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