The Plant Poems Project, itself part of the broader Missouri Flat Creek Restoration Project, generated a series of 20 poems for interpretive signage planted by the stretch of creek running along Grand Avenue near downtown Pullman. These poems—grown together in Zoom meetings between EcoArts’ Spring 2021 interns and EcoArts Director & WSU English Professor Linda Russo—explore Indigenous concepts like kinship and reciprocity as a form of ecospheric care work, the intentional support of nonhuman species for the purpose of mutual environmental well-being. The ecological imaginings at the heart of the poems arose from a collaborative writing process that began with shared research into native Palouse plant lives and plant knowledges, followed by freewriting “germinations” for each plant. These were then shaped into mesostic poems through collaborative revision. The poems, as well as the creative process, offer new ideas of plant/human relations.

The poems appear on signage at the restoration site and give passersby a deeper appreciation for the more-than-human world and the biodiversity of the Palouse and its wild edge spaces. They invite readers to dwell on the significance of thinking in terms of biotic community as inclusive of, but not exclusive to, human interests. Plants and humans thrive together, not separately. The Plant Poems Project suggests a new framework for living, caring, and breathing together.

the Plant Poems Project

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