William Bryant Logan

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, Columbia University. Writer in residence, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1980-1990. Contributing editor, House & Garden, House Beautiful, Garden Design. Teacher of poetry in public schools, Teachers and Writers Collaborative. Founder and president, Urban Arborists. Faculty, New York Botanical Garden. Author of Sprout Lands: Tending the Endless Gift of Trees; Air: The Restless Shaper of the World; Oak: The Frame of Civilization; and Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, which was the basis of Dirt! The Movie, shown at Sundance Film Festival. Translator of Federico Garcia Lorca, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, and other Spanish-language writers. SLC, 2019-

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020


Nonfiction Workshop: Nature Writing

Open , Seminar—Fall

We live in a world that has been picked apart. The work of the nature writer is to put the world back together again. Our job is to write not as rulers, observers, or managers but as creatures among all the other creatures. We become native to a place not because we were born there but because we inhabit it fully, give thanks for it, celebrate it, defend it, understand it, sing it. This is perhaps the most important work that a writer can do today, because our separation from the world around us may well lead to the death of our species. Nature writing embraces narrative, reporting, poetry, history, science, memoir, dramaturgy, ecology, garden and farm writing, celebration. Nature writing has been spoken, written, or sung since the Mesolithic, at least. The caves of Lascaux represent it. So do the Zuni Kiva dramas. Gilgamesh and Enkidu spoke of it. The classical tradition of Japanese poetry embodied it. It has been written by Hesiod, by Virgil and Columella, by Hildegard von Bingen, by Thomas Traherne, by John Clare, by Walt Whitman, by Meridel LeSeur and John Muir, by Rita Dove, by Terry Tempest Williams and Robin Wall Kimmerer, by Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton, by Celia Thaxter and Gary Snyder, by Janisse Ray and Robert Macfarlane. We will spend about half the semester reading examples from past and current writers, focusing each week on another genre of expression. We will practice writing in the different modes. We will read and share the work in class. For the second half of the semester, each student will focus on a personal project that we will work out in tutorials. The class is for writers at all levels and also for those who have not done much writing before. A variety of backgrounds and intentions will enliven the class.