Thinking Like Bears in Oregon

In the wake of the “Transformation without Apocalypse” symposium at Oregon State University in February, a few tidbits:

Videos of the keynote speakers – including the likes of Ursula K. LeGuin, Tim DeChristopher, Kathleen Dean Moore, and others – are now available at the website of the Spring Creek Project:    (the videos start halfway down the page)

At the symposium’s “Transformation Literature and Film Festival,” FTC contributors Kristin Berger, Willow Fagan, and Carla Wise, along with Stephen Siperstein of the U of Oregon, read from the anthology and their own work. Here are Kristin (left), Carla, and copies of the book in the company of other exalted titles (such as those of Kim Stanley Robinson). Thanks to Kristin for organizing FTC’s participation in the event, and to Grass Roots Books for making the books available!

Finally, as yet another example of “Facing the Change beyond FTC,” here’s one of his own poems Stephen Siperstein read at the event:

Thinking Like a Bear

Stooped among lowbush branches
We twist, pluck, and plop
Purple fruit into buckets.
My companion, six years old,
Turns to me,    asks:
aaaaaAre there bears here?
aaaaaaaaaaShould we be scared?
No, I say,
aaaaaWe shouldn’t be scared.
aaaaa           There are no bears, not here
(not anymore, I want to add, but don’t).
She seems relieved, but now I have got
Myself worrying:
aaaaaDark holes stretched across sea ice,
aaaaaPolar bears moving south,
aaaaaWalking on their soles—
aaaaaPine trees bulging with rust
aaaaaGrizzlies coming down
aaaaaFrom the mountains too early.
aaaaaWill she blame me
aaaaaFor a world with no bears?
aaaaaWill she remember
aaaaaWhat it feels like to be afraid
aaaaaOf something that can walk
aaaaaThrough the world like we do?
The thing is, I continue
(now determined for my own sake to sound wise)
aaaaaPeople are scared of bears but bears
 aaaaa          Are more scared of people.
Oh, she says and I feel worse, sorry to have said it,
Seeing her mind work over a hard idea
Like hands picking through small, un-ripe berries.
But then her voice, half certain–half question
Like a cool breeze off water
Waking me up to the morning:
aaaaaSo they must think we’re bears.


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