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the verdant

by Linda Russo


paperback, 85 pp

ISBN: 978-1-957483-20-7

MCP TV Author Image Linda Russo.jpg

Linda Russo is a poet, writer, and student of ecospheric care. Her published works include Participant (Lost Roads), Meaning to Go to the Origin in Some Way (Shearsman), To Think of Her Writing Awash in Light (Subito), Mirth (Chax Press), and, as co-editor, Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene (Wesleyan University Press) and Geopoetics in Practice (Routledge). She lives on traditional Nimíipuu and Pelúuc homelands where she teaches at Washington State University and directs

WINNER 2023 Halcyon Poetry Award

the verdant tells of springtime emergence in intimate attunement with the more-than-human world. It is a spacious, lyrical serial poem that holds myriad presences and voices in an imaginative terrain beyond human individualism. Over a lunar cycle, from the Flower Moon of May to the Strawberry Moon of June, the verdant, who is “charged to comprehend,” escapes capitalocene logics and temporalities to find vibrancy, companionship, and counsel among other beings. Through deepening immersion, land community reveals an interspecies amplitude particular to the prairie, woods, and waterways of the high desert of the inland northwestern US. What arises is a mystical day book of entanglement with animal and plant others that documents the urgency of becoming newly human and fostering a biome-centered energetics.

"Linda Russo's the verdant is a beautiful, organic invocation—a paean to other-than-human kin, a bow of respect and gratitude honoring the richness they bring. Russo's words caress the world, and that touch wicks the sacredness of those contacts into the mind of the reader as companion. The form is is wild, layered, and open, appropriately embodying experience in a natural form predicated on formlessness and allowing a more true and less binary—less individualistic—relationship between subject, environment, and the voice of the poem. There seems some unseen loom upon which these lines are laced, lending perspective less-persona. Russo manages an all-embracing interweaving of any individual identities the poem invites in to celebrate, revealed as a more earthed collective identity. These are poems of interpenetrating kinship with the natural world and the intelligences and teachers of our greater family, and our greater Self."

          —David Anthony Martin, Founder, Middle Creek Publishing & Audio, author of The Ground Nest and Bijoux

“In The Making of the Pré, Francis Ponge writes of a bird “flying low in direction counter to the writing.” What if instead the poet turned toward the bird, following bird’s direction across the sky to understand more deeply how humans might find gentler place within the world? In the verdant, Linda Russo writes, “i cannot be at peace     as an individual// with book of earth   underfoot.” Russo turns away from anthropocentric hierarchy, dominance and extraction in a newly resonant process of decomposition toward daily witness of the vernal cycles of life and death in her own ecological niche of the inland northwest. With “novel pronoun,” shrinking dominating capital I to open-hearted (, Russo softens human trespass to passage, and passage to perception of who humans might be amid our true reality of multi-species being. No chance, after reading the verdant, of bunker fantasies or a simulacrum of life on Mars protected from the consequences of trying not to be, after all, human. In transformative attempt to imagine our humanity anew, the verdant wakes us to the intimate power of being in community from our bodies to everything that surrounds us.”

           —Marcella Durand, author of To husband is to tender (Black Square Editions, 2021) and The Prospect (Delete Press, 2020) and recipient of the C.D. Wright Award in Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art.

“Putting forth an open but never closed parenthesis to signify human agency, the verdant enacts a new form of lyric presence to forge a poetics of invitation beyond the anthropocentric “I” (“western kingbird, wooly mullein, hawkweed, come in,”). This is a poetics wrought from contact, consideration, and love that never confirms or confines. “[H]umans may again/ become/ creatures of/ community,” the poem proclaims as it invites its readers to record their own “Animacies/Encounters” as well as their “Desires, Dreams, Ideas and Other Intimacies.” An experiment in lyric possibility and an invitation to our own “being-among,” the verdant stakes out a lyric future and offers its readers a rare dose of ecopoetic hope.”


               —Susan Briante, author of Defacing the Monument (Noemi Press, 2021)


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