Editor’s Panel: How EcoPoetry Compels Change

Southern Utah University hosted the 2019 Creative Writing/Teaching Conference focused on “Ecopoetry and the Essay” on Sept. 19-20. One anticipated event during this yearly conference was the Editor’s Panel which consisted of editors from several writing journals.

Eric Robertson, Editor of Saltfront and The Dark Mountain Project, began the panel by explaining the importance of integrating environmental sciences with the humanities. 

“We’re trying to understand what is the connection between art and science, what’s the connection between what it means to be human, and then what it means to study what it means to be human,” Robertson explained. 

He additionally discussed that by combining the written word with visual images audiences are able to more effectively connect with new ideas.

Nano Taggart, editor for Utah-based journal Sugarhouse Review, advocated for the relevancy of poetry in today’s society. He focused on the way that the variety and accessibility of modern poetry has greater power in connecting with the public and commenting on the current human condition social issues.

“We want to represent how exciting, temporary and broad poetry is right now,” Taggart said.

Simmons Buntin, Editor of Terrain.org, which is an online literary journal that has been publishing since 1998, reiterated a great deal of the previous editors’ ideas in the short amount of time he had. In the end, he discussed how online platforms with rolling publication have an advantage of flexibility of what work and media they publish.

During the short ten minutes left in the panel the editors were asked about their greatest joy. 

“The joy and the light is in finding the piece that is totally unexpected and really awesome,” said Bunton.

Robertson promoted the joy of collaboration and finding help in molding a piece of work to create “beautiful things together.”


Story by: Alex Greenwell
Photos by: of Alex Greenwell