Elementals

Elementals

Gavin Van Horn & Bruce Jennings, series editors. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors.

From the Center for Humans & Nature, publisher of the award-winning anthology series Kinship, comes a new anthology series on the Elementals, a five-volume collection of essays, poetry, and stories that illuminate the dynamic relationships between people and place, human and nonhuman life, mind and the material world, and the living energies that make all life possible.

For millennia, humans have sought to identify and understand the most essential aspects of nature. Of enduring fascination are the four material elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. All living beings owe their own existence and well-being to these everlasting movements of matter and flows of energy. Inspired by these powerful categories, the Elementals series asks: What can the vital forces of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire teach us about being human in a more-than-human world?

Elementals explores how people from various cultures across the planet have worked with these powerful forces of change and regeneration to shape landscapes and deepen personal and place-based relationships. More than 90 contributors―including Tyson Yunkaporta, Lyanda Fern Lynn Haupt, Sean Hill, David George Haskell, and Robin Wall Kimmerer―invite readers to consider the ways the elementals flow through our relations with a more-than-human world.

Contents:

  • Earth, Vol. 1 Earth is living matter, place, and planet; soil, ground, and home. This volume offers earthy perspectives and elemental paths toward an ethic of interdependence, connection, and care for planet, place, and relations.
  • Air, Vol. 2 Infinite and always in motion, constituent of everything, air is unutterably old, and its spirit carries with it the story of everything. This volume, in its creative exploration of this most ethereal yet indispensable of elements, provides breathing room for the imagination to thrive.
  • Water, Vol. 3 As a living presence, the circulation and flow of healthy waters make life on Earth possible and defines our very existence. This volume invites us to ponder the traditions, perspectives, and aspirations linked to this vital element.
  • Fire, Vol. 4 Fire remains wild, increasingly so today, but its domestication changed the course of human evolution. This volume asks what the many manifestations of fire might be imparting to us now, and how fire may be beckoning us to keep and tend to our elemental relations with care.
  • An Elemental Life, Vol. 5 If the elements are kin to one other, then what does it mean to live in kinship with the elements? This volume brings the elements into confluence with one another, exploring diverse practices of what it means to live elementally.

With compelling stories and insightful reflections, Elementals reveals how people are working with, adapting to, and cocreating relational depth and ecological diversity by respectfully attending to the forces that shape our everyday worlds: Earth, Air, Water, Fire.

Purchase Options

The Elementals book series comprises five volumes, listed below.

The cover of a book is very light pinkish-brown color. The word "elementals" is in the upper left-corner of the cover. An image reminiscent of a mandala is in the center of the cover. The circle is made of colorful small images of snakes, mushrooms, leaves, shells, insects, and other nature imagery. On the bottom right-hand side of the cover, text says, "i. earth. Hannah Eisler Burnett & Kristi Leora Gansworth, editors. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors."

Vol. 1 – Earth. Hannah Eisler Burnett & Kristi Leora Gansworth, volume editors.

Contributors: Marcia Bjornerud, Hannah Eisler Burnett, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Nickole Brown, Franny Choi, Rita Dove, Kristi Leora Gansworth, Emma Gilheany, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Liam Heneghan, Jessica Jacobs, Danielle B. Joyner, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Laticia McNaughton, Tia Pocknett, Oyah Beverly Reed Scott, Jane Slade, Melissa Tuckey, Andreas Weber

Earth is living matter, place, and planet; soil, ground, and home. This volume offers earthy perspectives and elemental paths toward an ethic of interdependence, connection, and care for planet, place, and relations.

The cover of a book is light cream color. The word "elementals" is in the upper left-corner of the cover. An image reminiscent of a mandala is in the center of the cover. The circle is made of colorful small images of clouds, eggs, butterflies, bats, birds, various flying insects, and other nature imagery. On the bottom right-hand side of the cover, text says, "ii. air. Daegan Miller, editor. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors."

Vol. 2 ­– Air. Daegan Miller, volume editor.

Contributors: Báyò Akómoláfé, Darran Anderson, Sohini Basak, Ellen Bass, Sara Beck, Gabrielle Bellot, Rita Dove, Ross Gay, Benjamin Kunkel, Antonia Malchik, Daegan Miller, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Craig Santos Perez, Roy Scranton, Nicholas Triolo, Michele Wick, Andrew S. Yang, Felicia Zamora

Infinite and always in motion, constituent of everything, air is unutterably old, and its spirit carries with it the story of everything. This volume, in its creative exploration of this most ethereal yet indispensable of elements, provides breathing room for the imagination to thrive.

The cover of a book is light blue. The word "elementals" is in the upper left-corner of the cover. An image reminiscent of a mandala is in the center of the cover. The circle is made of colorful small images of crab claws, corals, alligator heads, fish, frogs, waves, water droplets, starfish, shells, horseshoe crabs, and other nature imagery. On the bottom right-hand side of the cover, text says, "iii. water. Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, editor. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors."

Vol. 3 – Water. Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, volume editor.

Contributors: Clifford Atleo, Elizabeth Bradfield, Nickole Brown, Hannah Close, Geffrey Davis, Margo Farnsworth, Forrest Gander, Joy Harjo, Lyanda Fern Lynn Haupt, Bruce Jennings, J. Drew Lanham, Lisa María Madera, Marzieh Miri, Kathleen Dean Moore, Martin Lee Mueller, Mark Riegner, Anna Selby, Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, CD Wright, Robert Wrigley, Özge Yaka

As a living presence, the circulation and flow of healthy waters make life on Earth possible and defines our very existence. This volume invites us to ponder the traditions, perspectives, and aspirations linked to this vital element.

The cover of a book is light pink. The word "elementals" is in the upper left-corner of the cover. An image reminiscent of a mandala is in the center of the cover. The circle is made of colorful small images of plants, flame, dragonflies, fireflies, snakes, ants, flowers, moths, and other nature imagery. On the bottom right-hand side of the cover, text says, "iv. fire. Stephanie Krzywonos, editor. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors."

Vol. 4 – Fire. Stephanie Krzywonos, volume editor.

Contributors: Glenn A. Albrecht, David Baker, Tamiko Beyer, Eiren Caffall, Jane Caputi, Rina Garcia Chua, Catharina Coenen, Lucille Lang Day, Charlotte Du Cann, Camille T. Dungy, José G. González, Ron W. Goode, Jane Hirshfield, Stephanie Krzywonos, Miriam Morrill, Nina Mingya Powles, Em Strang, Isaac Yuen, Tyson Yunkaporta

Fire remains wild, increasingly so today, but its domestication changed the course of human evolution. This volume asks what the many manifestations of fire might be imparting to us now, and how fire may be beckoning us to keep and tend to our elemental relations with care.

The cover of a book is light green. The word "elementals" is in the upper left-corner of the cover. An image reminiscent of a mandala is in the center of the cover. The circle is made of colorful small images of ferns, crab claws, butterflies, starfish, flowers, birds, corals, cacti, insects, water droplets, and other nature imagery. On the bottom right-hand side of the cover, text says, "v. an elemental life. John Hausdoerffer, editor. Nickole Brown & Craig Santos Perez, poetry editors."

Vol. 5 – An Elemental Life. John Hausdoerffer, volume editor.

Contributors: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Elizabeth J. Coleman, Mark Coleman, CMarie Fuhrman, Liz Beachy Gómez, David George Haskell, John Hausdoerffer, Sean Hill, Brenda Hillman, Suzanne Kelly, Priyanka Kumar, Carina Lyall, David Macauley, Matthew Olzmann, Yakuta Poonawalla, Joerg Rieger, Vandana Shiva, Sophie Strand, Heather Swan, Leeanna T. Torres, Gavin Van Horn

If the elements are kin to one other, then what does it mean to live in kinship with the elements? This volume brings the elements into confluence with one another, exploring diverse practices of what it means to live elementally.

About the series editors:

Gavin Van Horn (he/him) is Executive Editor of Humans & Nature Press Books, the author of The Way of Coyote, and the co-editor of City Creatures, Wildness, and the award-winning five-volume series Kinship. He currently resides in the ancestral lands of the Northern Chumash people in San Luis Obispo, California, where you can find him wandering the nearby hills and shores, learning the flowers, trying to go light.

Bruce Jennings (he/him) teaches and writes on ethical and social issues in healthcare at Vanderbilt University. He is Developmental Editor for CHN Press Books and Senior Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature. He is author of several books and many articles in the fields of bio-medical ethics, public health, and ecological ethics. Among his books is Ecological Governance: Toward a New Social Contract with the Earth (2016).

About the poetry editors:

Nickole Brown (she/her) is the author of Sister and Fanny Says. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she volunteers at several animal sanctuaries. To Those Who Were Our First Gods, a chapbook of poems about these animals, won the 2018 Rattle Prize, and her essay-in-poems, The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. In 2021, Spruce Books of Penguin Random House published Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire, a book she co-authored with Jessica Jacobs, and they teach generative writing sessions together as part of their SunJune Literary Collaborative.

Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of six books of poetry and the coeditor of seven anthologies. He is Professor in the English department at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa.

Praise for Elementals

"Wander and linger with the poems and essays in these volumes—from tundra to desert, from soil to sky, each brings an essential voice and view to the profoundest of questions. Some will make you laugh, and others weep. Together, the words in this collection make triumphant and vital cacophony that add to their meditations on earth, air, fire and water a new element: life, and how to live it."
— Bathsheba Demuth, writer and environmental historian and author of Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait
"The elements have never seemed more vital, or accessible, or just plain gorgeous. The elementals is a suite to sample and savor and ponder."
— Stephen Pyne, author of The Pyrocene
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