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From Mere Life: An Algorithmic Poem with Human Additions

Shamus child of Ewan and Lyn found a dead beast and ate it. Shoshie child of Ansel and Jimbo stole a beak from Gillan child of Kevan and Ewan. Ewan child of Sanderson and Ashkn gave a scarab shell to Addle child of Jodi and Selma. Gillan child of Kevan and Ewan found zinc. Si child of Barbara and Jordan gave a beak to Wat child of Thatch and Kevan. Carrol child of Teriann and Lyn gave sand to Kissie child of Sigfried and Jamey: say my name, say my name. Helen child of Hendrik and Archibold found a dead beast and ate it. Jimbo child of Tommi and Thaddus gave a scarab shell to Ansel child of Helen and Rosario. Quintus child of Si and Jimbo found mud. Isadore child of Zebulon and Rosario found a beak. Magdaia child of Fleurette and Selma found sand. Mufinella child of Bridie and Canal found a beak. Joni child of Ashlen and Tim gave a nest to Briggs child of Eveline and Alanah. Joni child of Ashkn and Tim and Briggs child of Eveline and Alanah begat Quincy and hoped that one day he might meet the shore. Addle child of Jodi and Selma found mud. Zebulon child of Tommi and Thaddus found a dead beast and ate it. Putting aside the image of Zebulon’s fingers sinking into the beast, the economic nature of this transaction is worth pausing to appreciate: 1) The act of eating a dead beast is revolting. 2) The production of dead beasts, fallen animals that are explicitly not meat, cannot be easily taken over by traditional forms of meatification such as hunting or large-scale beast farming. In that

sense dead beasts are more like truffles or sapphires than hamburgers.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Boston Review - What Nature (Spring 2018)
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About Boston Review

The poems in What Nature were not written on Walden Pond. They were not written because poetry can save the Earth. If they are a far cry from last century's nature poetry, it is because "nature" today is a far cry from sanctuary or retreat. These poems are not at ease and there is no place left to retreat. They are themselves far cries: urgent calls for rethinking our place on an imperiled planet.

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Other Articles in this Issue


Boston Review
Timothy Donnelly, BK Fischer, & Stefania Heim
Ignoring the low screech coming billions of miles towards
Whatever fashioned us, its fashioning was nothing but
Fresh Kills Landfill in New York, open 1947-2001, was
how ordinary it is to want a long line of sunrises
Juridical moonlight, a stone admits NO FILTER. It’s
Of concrete passing planes, and here: look down, See
There are days when I dutch at the Great Sadness as
Two-thirds of the country is in drought. The waters
A single grain a second. This ice cream kind of night
Persephone promoted to pantomiming her loss In one
a trillion pounds of ice would make when it fell in
How many Eskimo words are there for white people? How
is the loneliest place that to be is empirically lonely
Lessons learned can be shared and modified from play
i don’t think the hitting will work A defensive time
gorge and pulse in their glee. Can I say I like you
lie awake. The mother is texting, do you want this
bird of paradise a bright orange slice through your
Shamus child of Ewan and Lyn found a dead beast and
the barking gets doser, so she lowers her rifle into
Another spreadsheet where every cell is a day containing
Mis palabras are heavy coated coati trundling home
Will we stop the destruction of the Earth … [or] enter
In the winter, my mother used to put a bucket at the
From Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within
We are telling the story of a cheetah elephant zebra
You don’t even have to look to know this world smells
to slow the flower—you goggle water & what “fire’s
From Some Words from 40-Some Days Before the Eclipse
That was the year we waited for the river to fill its
Elegy beginning in the shade of Aunt Mary’s mulberry
the first lady who with her limo window frames the
Our field of vision is filled with thronging towers
and Her children were born of land and water, many
Jordan Abel is author of Injun, lin/inhabited, and