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Author E.J. McAdams answers the question: what can poetry do for the climate crisis?

Olivia Buckel writes about the recent poetry reading from E.J. McAdams, featuring his book Last.
John A. Ruthven
Olivia Buckel writes about the recent poetry reading from E.J. McAdams, featuring his book “Last.”

With poems dripping in whimsy, grit and solemnity, poet, philosopher and self-proclaimed “friend of trees” E.J. McAdams commanded a crowd with readings from his first poetry collection “Last” on Sept. 28. 

This collection was inspired by the last passenger pigeon, Martha, who passed away just over 100 years ago. His collection is packed with dizzying recyclings of prose transformed into poetry, and poems playing with the letters in phrases like “Be Wilderness” or “Soon is Now.” McAdams’ voice, vernacular and vision drew every eye to him, listening intently to what he had to say. 

John Carroll’s own creative writing professor, Dr. Philip Metres, is a long time friend and fan of McAdams whovery much enjoyed the poetry reading. He is proud of his friend for publishing his first book, and how far he has come. 

“I love the idea that we are not separate from nature,” Dr. Metres said about McAdam’s poetry. Because of this, one of Dr. Metres’s favorite quotes from McAdam’s poems is, “We are not nature. We are nature defending itself.” 

It is through these poems that McAdams attempts to answer the question “What can poetry do for the climate crisis?” McAdams himself claims that he does not have a perfect answer to this question, but watching him captivate a room with phrases like, “nature falls way worse than Eden because people here are much more real”; it is impossible not to have an answer. 

It is through McAdams’ passion for bringing nature to the world through his poetry that the message of activism for climate change is allowed to spread, and with poetry as gorgeous as McAdams’, it is impossible not to feel inspired not to make a change. This is all the ignition needed to catch fire to a movement.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Buckel, Media Beat Reporter
Olivia Buckel is a Media Beat Reporter for The Carroll News. She is from Erie, Pennsylvania, and is currently a freshman at JCU. She is majoring in English with a Creative Writing concentration as well as a Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies minor. She is also in the Honors Program In addition to writing for The Carroll News, Olivia is also a part of the Honors Service Board, as well as the JCU Allies Club and the Women and Allies Coalition. She is also a Peace, Justice, and Human Rights Ambassador and a prose editor for The Carroll Review. During her free time, Olivia enjoys reading fantasy books, writing fantasy stories, and watching fantasy TV. In the future, Olivia hopes to be an editor for a publishing house or magazine.  

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    Pat BuckelOct 18, 2023 at 7:39 pm

    I’m not very versed in poetry, but you have peeked my interest. Thank you.