Christopher_Cokinos_cropFrom stories of extinct North American birds to the seemingly unrelated subject of meteorites and their effects on the Earth, author Christopher Cokinos will explore themes of extinction, life and deep time in a talk at Academy Village on Wednesday (Sept. 4) at 3:30 p.m.

Entitled “Vanished Birds and Shooting Stars: Life and Death from the Sky,” his lecture will take listeners from flocks of Carolina parakeets to swarms of “killer” asteroids. He will discuss environmental responsibility toward the contemporary biosphere and how we, as keepers of our natural world, can act to conserve and protect what we value.

Cokinos will base his talk on two of his award-winning literary non-fiction works, “Hope is a Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds” and “The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars.”

A recent addition to the faculty of the University of Arizona, Cokinos is that rare individual who can take scientific facts and discoveries and make them both personal and poetic.  At UA he is associate professor of creative writing and a member of the Institute of the Environment.  He also helps to mentor doctoral students who wish to become better science communicators.

His poems, stories, reviews and essays have appeared widely, including in such venues as Poetry, Sugar House Review, Shenandoah, Science, Orion and The American Scholar.  His essays regularly appear in the Los Angeles Times and the environmental journal, High Country News.  He has two books appearing this fall, a poetry chapbook called “Held as Earth” and a lyric essay collection called “Bodies, of the Holocene.”

Cokinos has garnered a number of awards including the John Burroughs Natural History Essay Prize and the Whiting Award.  His books have gotten attention from Natural History, “All Things Considered” and People.  For “The Fallen Sky” he received a grant from the National Science Foundation that enabled him to join a meteorite-hunting expedition in Antarctica where he spent a month living in a tent and working with scientists. Among his works in process are a natural history of the wild cats of North America and a poetry collection based on the paintings of Rene Magritte.

Submitted by Beverley Prentice Robertson, Academy Village Volunteer

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A Poetic Look at Natural Science: Sept. 2013
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