During the pandemic, I began foraging. As I learned the names—and attributes—of flora, the scenery rearranged itself in my vision and in my memory. My gaze sharpened, in a process that’s known as “breaking the green wall.” With plants, I’d had an inability to recognize or differentiate. What I could not separate, see as individual, I struggled to remember, or to consider. But as the months went by, what once might have been generic prettiness, lumped in my head as wildflowers, became specific in name and taste.
Foraging made me present and attentive in ways that got me thinking about revision, and how poets and writers can resist familiar received tropes and dominant narratives—“the general public rhetoric,” as Charles Baxter puts it. My lecture will approach revision through the lens of foraging. By enhancing our observation and our consideration of history and community, how can we recognize and address stereotypical portrayals in our work? Texts discussed may include work by Octavia E. Butler, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ben Gucciardi, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Madeline Miller, Camille T. Dungy, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and others.