Building a world beyond

Having just recently written a review for these pages of an anthology made up of multiple writers published in 2023 with a similar title that was edited by Ervin Laszlo, I am taking the liberty to review the much more singular and shorter primer that Laszlo wrote in 2022 prior to putting together his large anthology.

The earth speaks; hopefully, we’re listening

Somehow in the last couple years scanning the stacks and shelves of our local library and indie bookstore, I missed seeing an important book focused on and designed for the times we are living in. “Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth” (The Golden Sufi Center Publishing, 309 pages, 2021), edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, is a compendium of essays and poems addressing all the requisite issues that the word “ecology” implies. 

Traveling south to find America

“Appalachia can give us an eye towards how the national personality refracts like a diamond into a thousand rays” — Imani Perry 

A surfer’s quest to find Zen on the sea

“If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in water.” — Loren Eiseley

It’s not often that one finds a book that is both sensibly spiritual and a very fun read. But such was the case on my reading of Jaimal Yogis’ coming-of-age, non-fiction memoir “Saltwater Buddha” (Wisdom Publications, 2009, 238 pages). 

Dreams and near dreams — a return to the 60s

Baron Wormser, who is a former Poet Laureate of Maine, has a new novel titled “Some Months in 1968” (Woodhall Press, 2022, 344pgs) that has an image of a draft card on the cover and is a must-read for all of us 1960s Boomers.

Language is illuminated in new memoir

Once in a great while, something unexpected and exceptional crosses my desk. In this case it was a gift from a friend and a new book by our recent U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo — a tome written during the global pandemic when she obviously had the opportunity to find some quiet time and reflect. She has emerged in her new book “Catching the Light” (Yale University Press, 2022) as a kind of visionary. 

Lost and found in the woods of Appalachia

Another regional writer has just published a new book. Janisse Ray, whom I know as an original member of the Southern Nature Project ( and author of “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” is winner of many major national literary awards as well as being inducted as a member of the Georgia Literary Hall of Fame. A Georgia native, she is a neighbor of ours here in the Southern Appalachians, which is where her new book and her first novel takes place. 

The lost poems of Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller was the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985 to 1995. She was an activist for many Native American and progressive social causes and programs throughout her adult life and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Buddhism and the San Francisco Beats

“Crowded By Beauty” (University of California Press, 2015) is the poetic title of the most recent biography of Philip Whalen. Who was Philip Whalen? As the author David Schneider describes him:

Ecopoetry ruminations from the Great Smokies

“We must unhumanize our view a little, and become confident / As the rock, and ocean that we were made from.” — Robinson Jeffers

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