Join BirdNote tomorrow, November 30th!
Illustrator David Sibley and actor H. Jon Benjamin will face off in the bird illustration battle of the century during BirdNote's Year-end Celebration and Auction!
April is National Poetry Month, and BirdNote is celebrating by sharing nature-inspired poems written by contemporary authors. Explore the poets below!
Camille T. Dungy on Nature and Motherhood
Writer Camille T. Dungy’s book Trophic Cascade deals with themes of nature and becoming a mother. The title is an ecological term, referring to the far-reaching changes on an ecosystem caused by the removal or introduction of a top “trophy” predator. In the case of Camille’s book, that “trophy creature” is her daughter. Camille performs three poems from Trophic Cascade reckoning with these changes to her own ecosystem.
Joyce Clement: Birds Punctuate the Days
Poet Joyce Clement writes haiku, a traditional Japanese form. While it's often thought of as having three lines with 5-7-5 syllables, Joyce says that the key elements of any haiku are a fragment and a phrase spoken in a single breath. In this sequence of haiku, Joyce juxtaposes punctuation marks with images of birds, drawing on their similar appearances, as well as meaning.
Donika Kelly and the Bowerbird
A number of years ago, poet Donika Kelly was trying to figure out how to date, when she saw a nature documentary about a bowerbird. Male Satin Bowerbirds will gather all the blue items they can find, build a beautiful structure called a bower, and do a dance to try to woo the females. Donika found herself wishing that human courtship had such a clear structure, and wrote a series of poems inspired by the bowerbird.
Ada Limón and the Birds of Kentucky
When poet Ada Limón moved to Kentucky with her husband for his work, she was having trouble adjusting to her new home. To connect with the place, she began learning about the local birds and plants. She found comfort in the idea of the nearly omnipresent state bird, the Northern Cardinal. That inspired a poem in which the state bird becomes a metaphor for love.
Wendy S. Walters
Wendy S. Walters is a non-fiction writer and poet, who holds a MFA/PHD in Poetry and Literature from Cornell University. While Walters was living in L.A. during the early 2000s, she wrote a short collection of poems about the city called The Birds of Los Angeles.
A native of Minnesota, Traci Brimhall is an Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University. Her first published collection, Rookery, features many poems about birds.
Timothy Steele is an American poet who has received numerous awards and honors for his poetry. Steele is known for his love of rhyme, meter, and traditional forms of poetry. He loves birds, and has had a number of poems inspired by encounters with them.
Heid E. Erdrich
Ojibwe writer Heid E. Erdrich is the author of seven collections of poetry. In our closing episode of poetry month, hear her poems about Northern Flickers, a Wild Turkey, and a Red-eyed Vireo.
Sidney Wade - Blue
April is National Poetry Month in the United States, and to celebrate, we're featuring some of our favorite poets who write about our feathered friends. Today, in this extended podcast, we're sharing the work of poet Sidney Wade, professor emeritus at the University of Florida. Her most recent collection of poems is called Bird Book and is entirely poems about birds.
Baltimore Oriole © Rich Parkinson
Cedar Waxwing © Lee Jaffe CC
Common Mergansers © Nicole Beaulac
Satin Bowerbird © Duncan McCaskill
Northern Cardinal © Jen Goellnitz
Photo of Wendy S. Walters © Ryan Muir
Photo of Traci Brimhall © Colin MacMillan
Photo of Timothy Steele © Emi Uchiike
Photo of Heid E. Erdrich © Chris Felver
Double-crested Cormorant © Shanthanu Bhardwaj