May/June 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 3 Nature’s Nature 2020 |

[Introduction]

Today, as I write this, is December 26, 2019 — the day, as it happens, between Christmas and my birthday. It is my pleasure, for the sixth year now, to offer you “Nature’s Nature,” part of the Kenyon Review’s devoted attention to environmental poetry and art. I am also, once again, writing to you with alarm because two days ago, as reported by a number of sources, including Newsweek, “unusually warm weather melted the most ice across the continent of Antarctica in a single day out of any day in recorded history.” According to the Global Forecast System by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, “around 15 percent of the continent’s surface melted. . . . [This] data comes from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR), a model used for meteorological and climatic research.” I add today’s statistic to a couple of recent others to help me understand my own grief and shame as I consider the crumbling ecosystem. I also understand that these two are

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

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