Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
Sunday was Earth Day, but before you head outside to explore the wonders of nature, linger a moment with The Paris Review.
I feel that the condition of our social and ecological life is so serious that we’d better have a sense of humor. That it’s too serious just to be angry and despairing. Also, frankly, the environmental movement in the last twenty years has never done well when it threw out excessive doom scenarios. Doom scenarios, even though they might be true, are not politically or psychologically effective. The first step, I think, and that’s why it’s in my poetry, is to make us love the world rather than to make us fear for the end of the world. Make us love the world, which means the nonhuman as well as the human, and then begin to take better care of it.
The Sky Trail was steep and it was too late to walk two hours down Bear Valley to the coast. By taking the Limantour Road, Walter could get his mother to the top of the ridge, then walk with her through the huckleberry thickets and the Douglas firs. It was an easy path. It would take twenty minutes. They could get to the meadow and back before the sun went down.
Do you come here often? Walter’s mother wanted to know. Yes, Walter said, parking the car, I come here often, whenever I want to be alone.
I am writing from a place you have never been,
Where the trains don’t run, and planes
Don’t land, a place to the west,
Where heavy hedges of snow surround each house,
Where the wind screams at the moon’s blank face,
Where the people are plain, and fashions,
If they come, come late and are seen
As forms of oppression, sources of sorrow.
This is a place that sparkles a bit at 7 P.M.,
Then goes out, and slides into the funeral home
Of the stars, and everyone dreams of floating
Like angels in sweet-smelling habits,
Of being released from sundry services
Into the round of pleasures there for the asking—
Days like pages torn from a family album,
Endless reunions, the heavenly choir at the barbecue
Adjusting its tone to serve the occasion,
And everyone staring, stunned into magnitude …
If you like what you read, get a year of The Paris Review—four new issues, plus instant access to everything we’ve ever published. Order now and you’ll get a copy of our new book, The Writer’s Chapbook, for only ten dollars more.