Milwaukee Earth Poets

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The Milwaukee Earth Poets poets express their fear, and concern for our treatment of nature. All the poems and songs they write poke at the sad reality of how we have chosen to treat and use nature. Poetry and music are such beautiful artistic expressions, and may convey a messages to people. In each of the poems, you can see the poets have taken great care in how the poem is read, as it glides seamlessly from the reader, giving the listeners a great understanding of what each Poet has to convey.

Where We Earthlings Dwell

'"It’s hard to decide where to operate first,

whether the ocean or the land.

Mama’s poor lungs are laboring…,

too many forests have been whacked—

her pulse is getting awfully faint:

how in the world do we bring her back?"'

-Harvey Taylor

Interview with Harvey Taylor

Harvey Taylor is one of the three original Earth Poets. He was very informative when it came to the Earth Poet’s intentions through their songs, and poems. We talked on the phone for at least an hour as I asked him questions. He enthusiastically answered them:

The first question I asked was…

Do you draw any of your inspiration from certain environmental philosophers of our past?

Answer: He responded with John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Gary Snyder.

His friend Jeff Schimach also has a Cabin up in the woods of Canada that is isolated on this lake where they all spend time tuning into nature. He felt it reminded him of Thoreau’s cabin in the woods.

My second question I asked was…

What are your fundamental ideologies when it comes to treating nature the way it should be treated?

Answer: Advocating for nature, and seeing humanity part of nature is very important. A lot of the time we make a big mistake by separating ourselves from nature thinking that we are better apart from it, this way of thought has led us to precarious scary things we see happening. He feels this notion is best described in his Song “Planet of Paradox”. In the song humans think very highly of themselves, but don’t recognize the planetary crisis we are in. We are ignorant of the fact that we feel we can poison the earth without consequence, and because of that ignorance we are tragically headed towards destruction. On the bright side, though Harvey hopes, and feels that it is not too late to make changes even though it may be complicated, and at times seem unrealistic.

My third question I asked was…

Do you feel there is a solution to how we can better treat nature?

Answer: The effort we need to put into protecting it won’t be easy but it will be necessary. Also nurturing yourself by not getting caught up in the news cycles. Yet honestly there is no easy answer. Helping people who need to see the truth of how our actions affect the world around us is important. We have become a culture overwhelmed by false values. The person with the most wealth and power feels they can do as they wish, and let others pay for his actions. We think of ourselves as consumers, and not citizens. People feel like it is not their responsibility to contribute, which is why it is so crucial that we seek out sources that reveal the truth so that we are not idiots at the mercy of tyrants. The wealthy doesn’t always consider the people in need, they can be selfish, so we can’t always rely on those in power to make those changes. We as the people need to speak up in order to save our environment, and the best way to start doing that is with you.

The fourth question I asked was…

Which work(s) that you have created do you feel is most inspirational when it comes to the message you are trying to convey?

Answer: The Real World YouTube:

The real world brings up obvious issues of what is happening in our world today that many turn a blind eye to. That we need to take care of our support systems, and ecosystems. To be able to give our future generation a nontoxic environment.

The last question asked was

Is there anything about the Earth Poets you feel would be important to highlight in my article to best portray them?

Answer: The Earth poets started in 1987, not long after Senator Gaylord Nelson declared the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 which brought significant pressure on Washington DC to create a national environmental agenda, which influenced the modern Environmental movement.

The earth poets were at first a small group of 11, then dwindled down to three of the original earth poets but since then have gone back up to more as times went by

  • Reminisced the time he had as a child where he could drink out of a stream and not worry about anything that could be contaminating the water, yet now we can't do that anymore.
  • Trying to cut through the cultural misconceptions of nature, and how we perceive it.
  • Trying to help people awaken and, appreciate nature and not destroy it.
  • Raise awareness

Harvey Taylor facts

  • He lived in southern California for six years, and was there before fires became really bad.
  • He is 75 years old.
  • He was nine years old when family first got a black and white tv.
  • His first years were not associated with television.
  • Born in the virgins on the coast, there were woods on the block. Him and friends would play in the woods, and go to the beach.
  • Run around the neighborhood. (???)
  • He doesn't have a cell phone -- he uses his wife's cell phone.
  • Technology does not control him.


Harvey Taylor The real World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc9Dar_pdLE&t=1s

Earth Poets Website http://www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/Main/HomePage

References

Melissa Murphy interviewed Harvey Taylor in late November, 2017.

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