Song of the Universe

Song of the Universe

“Anne Rowthorn has ably assembled Wisdom from a splendid palate, drawn from different faith traditions, cultures, and eras of human history. In Song of the Universe, she retrieves her readers from the exile of either apathy or over-extension, and sends them back to do what needs to be done—with renewed heart and resolve to make a difference.”
—The Rev. Canon Carla V. Pryne, Episcopal priest and founder of Earth Ministry

Anne Rowthorn believes that poets, prose writers, and philosophers offer us a multitude of ways to see the earth. They open earth’s door and invite us to step into the garden of the universe. Language can move us to action; and her agenda in editing this stimulating collection of writings about nature from around the world is to challenge us to protect the natural world from ourselves.

“Anne Rowthorn’s luminous anthology of earth poems brings with it a blessing that comes to us from all over the world and across a stretch of time. Each individual work stops us in our tracks with a sense of fresh natural beauty, so often passed by without notice or violated without thought. Taken together, the poems offer a human witness to the universe in all its wondrous variety—a gorgeous hymnal in praise of creation”
—Professor Peter S. Hawkins, Yale Divinity School

“A treasury of resources for celebrating the wonder-full world we live in and for adding our voice to its song.”
—Professor Miriam Therese Winter, Hartford Seminary

Excerpts from the book:

Harry Thurston, the compiler of The Sea’s Voice, an anthology of Atlantic Canadian writings, said that, “…nature writing is not only (or even primarily) about the wilderness and what you find in it, but it presents the individual with a way of seeing.” From the smallest literary form, the haiku, to the narrative poem and the essay; the writings in this book present the reader with ways of seeing the natural world.

Nature writing at its best invites the reader, through his and her imagination, to become part of the natural world being described. This is why nature writing is so refreshing. Its authenticity speaks to us. When the celebrated American poet, Maya Angelou states that “…A river sings a beautiful song—Come rest here by my side” (from “On the Pulse of Morning”), we are right there in our minds beside the poet refreshing ourselves in the clear, pristine river. We get the same impression of being immersed in the landscape by reading a poem of a very different age. Du Xunhe, a poet of T’ang era (9th century BCE) in China wrote:

I sit and watch
The flower-like moon
And the sparkling stars
Fade from the sky.
The shadows of the mountains
And the far reaches of the tides.

There is lots of room between the artfully crafted words for the reader to fill in the spaces and become part of the evening landscape fading as morning approaches. It is as if we were sitting quietly beside the poet watching “the flower-like moon and the sparkling stars fade from the sky….”