A Reading List for Earth Day

This reading list of poems, essays, and stories published by CLMP member magazines includes writing about nature, the climate crisis, and more.


From the Oldest Forest in Montana” by Rick Bass
Orion Magazine

I had to go into the old forest seventy times before I heard it speak, and then it was only one word, urgency.


Over Time” by Sarah Blake
Paper Brigade

I learned about the Great Pacif­ic Garbage Patch when I was 25, when one of my stu­dents wrote a research paper about it in a com­po­si­tion class that I was teach­ing. He wrote about find­ing trash in the water, wash­ing up on a Cal­i­for­nia beach when he was a child.


Is All Writing Environmental Writing?” by Camille T. Dungy
The Georgia Review

We are in the midst of the planet’s sixth great extinction, in a time where we are seeing the direct effects of radical global climate change via more frequent and ferocious storms, hotter drier years accompanied by more devastating wildfires, snow where there didn’t used to be snow, and less snow where permafrost used to be a given.


Oceans Away” by David Gessner

The dolphins cut back and forth in front of our bow, rolling and jumping and twisting. They spotted our boat and began to chase it as we chased false albacore, and before we knew it a half dozen of them had caught up with us and were darting through the slipstream of our bow.


Solastalgia: Sadness Upon the Assault of Our Natural World” by Danielle Hague
The Markaz Review

Water is essential to life—it shapes and reshapes our landscapes. It contours our bodies and our worlds. It is also essential to our cultures: We use it to cleanse before prayer, to baptize, and to wash our dead.


Do Migrants Dream of Blue Barrels?” by Raquel Gutiérrez
The Georgia Review

I live in Tucson. People tell me they love the images they see on my various social media feeds of the mysterious, moonscape desert that surrounds.


Teaching Ecopoetry in a Time of Climate Change” by Craig Santos Perez
The Georgia Review

I arranged ten desks in a circle in preparation for students the first day of my undergraduate poetry workshop. It was fall 2011—my first semester teaching in the English department at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa.


There Is Smoke in Brooklyn” by Shannon Huffman Polson
Tahoma Literary Review

A week before the fires, our youngest sits outside watching birds. He has oriented himself toward the mountains, the way the wind came, the way the water came, the way the fire would come.


The 17th Day” by Christina Rivera

Stars blink back at me through the top of my bedroom window, but I feel dawn coming. I pat my night table just as my phone’s alarm vibrates.


Walking with Trees” by Ruth Wallen
Dark Matter: Women Witnessing

This past July I arrived at Walker Pass Campground to begin a four-day pilgrimage to walk with dying trees. I’d been coming here for three years, drawn by a dark red spot on a Forest Service map of tree mortality in California.




Listen for the Roots” by KB Ballentine
Humana Obscura

Rain tiptoes through the leaves,
woods singing under a slur of fog.


Hello Morning” by Ellen Bass
Raleigh Review

Little maple
taking shape against my window,
night’s dark gauze falling from your limbs.


To the Greenland Shark” by Dorsey Craft
West Trestle Review

You loom like a yawn over blubber plump
pups, those nuggets, with red thick hearts


Tableau with Bloodeaters and Baby Birds” by Sheila Dong

An ornithologist found a Canada jay nest with three newborn birds and three blood-swollen ticks inside.

The ticks were enormous, too big for the hatchlings to eat.


Late Anthropocene Shechecheyanu” by Leah Falk

Spring stutters, as it has
these last late years of ruin,
the sentence we are yearning for
coiled under its tongue.


Doubt” by Vievee Francis
Raleigh Review

my reflection, the bear in the mirror.
Doubt you’ll do a thing about it.
Doubt you know what you did. You


Aubade in a little ice age” by Sydney Goggins
Cincinnati Review

The bees in their winter hollow
hum like a Stradivarius
stilled in its case for years.


Tejon Ranch Sonata, 2032” by Benjamin Gucciardi
Radar Poetry

The last colt on the ranch dies
and no one has the will to dig another grave—
earth too dry, shovels worn


After Reading about Decreasing Snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains” by Christopher Hewitt

From the lecture hall projector beams
a phantom glacier, filling the screen with a map of Colorado.


Solstice” by Jane Hirshfield

The Earth today tilts one way, then another.

And yes, though all things change,
this night again will watch its fireflies


Flame” by Patricia Spears Jones
Dark Matter: Women Witnessing

Remembering the river burning, near Pittsburgh,
yes near Pittsburgh and then meeting poets
poets from Pittsburgh who said the air was the color of chalk


The Sea of Shadows” by Melanie Margarita Kirby
The Thalweg

the sea of shadows
lanky lisps
willow oh billow over this grave
of soft-spoken wings with messages of me


Slough” by Ada Limón
Orion Magazine

That you want to slip deep
into the forest. Pine needles
like the sharpest animal’s hair


Ketea Indikos” by Rajiv Mohabir
Raleigh Review

Come night
we count the animals
stitched together


Biinde/Within” by Margaret O’Donnell Noodin
Orion Magazine

Gigii-aadawaa’awimin zagapizoyang
We have gone sailing untethered
dibishkoo anangoog agoozowaad giizhigong
like stars hung in the sky


Cormorant” by Michael Prior
The Hopkins Review

Like living oil poured into the waves:
that cormorant,
which seemed so fully itself
as it plunged between the breakers


Cold Morning with New Catastrophes” by Hayden Saunier
Radar Poetry

Crickets stopped scratching their names
in last evening’s dark husk,
the false summer over as half of the earth
lurched sudden and blind into winter.


12/9” by Kate Schapira

with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t


Irrigation” by Martha Serpas
Bellevue Literary Review

we steal water when we make rain, the way
everything I have is from somewhere else,
from someone else, what I am

What did you learn here? (Old Man House)” by Cedar Sigo

How to fall asleep easily on the beach, to dig clams, to dream a net made of nettles, a medicine of marsh tea boiled out to the open air…


What I Think about When I Think about the Future” by Angela Narciso Torres
West Trestle Review

The only chirping at dawn will come from broken smoke alarms.

Cars will possess decision-making skills most humans do not.

Zoos will resemble museums.


Rooted” by Cheryl Walsh
Plants and Poetry

Summers, when a blue haze pressed down,
we circled an overgrown field, walking
a single acre, father and daughter.


In Puget Sound” by Isabel Zapata
Translated from the Spanish by Robin Myers
Words Without Borders

The whale calf shifted from the water to the water
and that was it:
she lived for barely half an hour in Puget Sound.


Short Stories

After the Aquifer” by Stephanie Anderson

After the aquifer surrendered to salt, South Florida dipped a city-sized straw into Lake Okeechobee and drank. The lake, more accustomed to being dumped into than emptied, felt semi-hopeful.


The Ghost Town Collectives” by Brittney Corrigan

A fright. That’s what you’re supposed to call a group of ghosts. Not a herd. Not a flock. Not some sort of harmless congregation of beings. A fright of ghosts. As if fear is the only option.


What We Yield” by Tom Gammarino
Tahoma Literary Review

When the king tides flooded Waikīkī and box jellyfish floated along Kalākaua Avenue, I failed to understand that it had anything to do with me. But two years later, when the number of applicants to the private high school where I was principal had declined by nearly fifty percent, I began to feel the stings.

Never Love a Wild Thing” by Kelly Gray
Southern Humanities Review

Ace was famous for her spit. She could aim and hit hard. Lord forbid you gave her a front porch and a line of sass. She used a wad of spit like it was a punctuation mark but also the sentence was silent.


Fire Season” by Emily Kevlin

All morning it is night.

The children stand at the window, gazing out at the rust-colored sky. They wiggle like wind-up machines, ticking out their excitement.


The Blob” by Carmen Maria Machado
Orion Magazine

We found  the star jelly in the street, halfway between home and the park where our cousins were waiting.


The Settlement” by Tariq Mehmood
The Markaz Review

She was secure in the storeroom of the first settlement that had sprung up on top of Hill 21. The room had no windows and the door was locked from the outside.


The Blood Tree” by Aimee Parkison
The Fabulist

Opening the bedroom window overlooking the garden, Raymond finds floodlight dahlias sweating in the monkey grass, shaggy petals hit by heavy rain. Their battered heads fall, childlike in the mist, leaning down to the ground as if in sleep or shame.



Glaciers and Oceans and the Next Hundred Years”: A Conversation with Andri Snær Magnason
Words Without Borders

I devoured David Attenborough documentaries as a child, but when I started writing around 1993, I thought the world was heading in the right direction, so I was writing for the sake of art, words, and stories.