Inner Forest Service
The Inner Forest Service publishes poems attentive to the Earth, what we're doing to it, and what that does to us.
This annual online poetry journal encourages us to feed from our being of the natural world and act according to
its biotic riot. It aims to assist in coalition building between various ways of writing about the environment, including those suspicious of the word nature. For example, both ecopoetic critique and transcendental nature worship are welcome. We value activists, renunciants, and hopeless optimists. We include poems of total despair—while believing despair to be an excessive inner emission that traps in light's heat, a psychological greenhouse gas that poetry can help dissipate. Robin Wall Kimmerer names our utmost ambition: "As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us."
Alongside the next decades' worldwide suffering and transformation toward sustainability, we will surely also experience an unprecedented torrent of art, including poetry of similar minds as the Inner Forest Service distributes. The climate crisis is propelling increases in environmental and interdependent attention that can expand poetic forms of awareness: a feel for where the world overlaps into patterns, "occurences, recurrences, currents,"—as Heather McHugh puts it in Broken English—metaphors, rhythms, assonance, and other tonalities and thus erodes and nourishes itself. That is (in reverse), just by using poetry's tools even poems without a single line about the natural world can inadvertently align one with widening recognitions of habitat. To frequently read the imaginative, the metaphoric, the philosophic, the lyrical engages more of our mental/bodily attributes and inner traces left by the senses, which can further awaken one to ecological aspects of identity.
In the sciences, we have started to understand how trees communicate and care for each other and how bacteria socialize and seek balance. Now’s the time for not just scientists and artists to learn from the likes of glaciers and bees but also engineers, bankers, all of us, and the Inner Forest Service is here to help. As Gary Snyder forecasted in Earth House Hold, “The coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past,” and as Amiri Baraka said, "Everything we do is supposed to be art."