Archive for April, 2014

#vherbage site launched!

2014 04 25 vherbage

This week, the students of CRWR260 at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and I launched our collaborative digital writing project, #vherbage! #vherbage is the second student-centred collaborative work coming out of the institutional practice side of The Plant Intelligence Project. #vherbage is a celebration of language, plant subjectivity, connectivity and dendricity!

Students took their inspiration from ecopoet angela rawlings’ digital project gibber in a number of ways: #vherbage, like  the Twitter poem #gibberese, is a collaboratively written ecopoem composed in real time on Twitter. The curated poem appears animated on the site. The project also sees students combining image, sound, animation and text to create their interdisciplinary texts. Further, groups of students read rawlings’ more theoretical thoughts on asemic writing to come up with their own ideas about how the semiotic signalling of plants helps us think about our own use of language.

Just like last year, creative writing students connected with plant science students in Dr. Susan Murch’s plant biochemistry class to share discussions on metaphor and creativity in science and to source texts for found poems. Congratulations to all the authors on a beautiful finished project. Read more about the project and its authors here.

 

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Natasha Myers’ Kriya for Cultivating Your Inner Plant

 

2014 04 01 bedel and myers tumblr_n1wiefOwBi1rfm6vfo1_1280

 

Natasha Myers, associate professor of anthropology at York, fellow Travis Bedel enthusiast and member of the friendly Plant Studies Collaboratory, has written a Kriya for Cultivating Your Inner Plant.

A Kriyā, says Wikipedia, is most commonly understood as  “a ‘completed action’, technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result. Another meaning of Kriya is an outward physical manifestation of awakened kundalini, such as a spontaneous body movement related to Kundalini energy flow.” As a poet, I love reading Myers’ kriya as a text to recite – or rather, to embreath – again and again. Myers’  text can be read as a set of ideovocal poses to flow through, as idea moving in and out through the lungs, as language as  transformative breathing practice. 

Anyone who has ever had someone say the right thing in the right way at the right time, such that their body responded, can understand the power of intention and language combined.

Anyone who is familiar with this blog can vibe with Myers’ assertion that a vocalized practice can lead us into, or away from, an idea of a self as like “one giant nerve cell merging with soil.”

Myers’ “invitation to deepen your already multispecies Yoga practice” blends theories of affective ecology with research on plant science. If only it were fashionable in lit circles to discuss the breath and poetry and Eastern philosophy from a postcolonial perspective: there was good reason why poetry discourse moved on from that (the awkwardness of white, Western North American poets of the 60s and 70s wanting to be non-brown yogic sage-shamans, for one).

But if one perhaps starts with the acknowledgement that these South Asian thinkers knew something then that we want to know again, now, in our time – we can think simultaneously about what bodies inhabit the most authoritative spaces of thought production and wonder how the affect/interspecies wisdom we’re turning to Eastern thought to express irrupts back into Western thought at the site of the idea of the plant.