I was delighted to be interviewed recently by poet T. J. McLemore for The Hopper—we talked about poetry, science, art, technology, academia and whatnots. The interview is now published here, and you can find an excerpt below.
I remember looking up at the night sky at an early age and wondering about its mysterious nature. As I grew older, I realized we all share a similar moment. We have all been that kid. I was lucky to then come across old VHS tapes of Carl Sagan’s COSMOS: A Personal Voyage. I binge-watched the series before binge-watching was even a thing. I decided then that I wanted to find a way to do what Carl was doing, only my way. Carl opened a window to science, as a way of thinking, for everyone who wanted to join him for the ride. That window can be more or less literal, and it is what I focused on. I had peculiar ideas of how to bring the sciences and the arts together. My father wisely suggested I get a terminal degree in the sciences if I wanted to be heard, so I did in the field that had fascinated me. Later I got my terminal degree in the arts as a way to explore those necessary bridges between two ways of thinking that need coalescing. It was Sagan who said “science is a way of thinking way more than it is a body of knowledge.” To that I add that art is also a way of thinking way more than a body of work. Together, they are two complementary way of thinking about the world both within and around us. I am a big proponent of STEAM. We want scientific and technological innovation and design STEM curricula to achieve it—but forget that innovation needs creativity, and creativity comes from arts. In my mind, educational curricula should aim for renaissance humans. There is no need to build walls between the sciences and the arts before one gets to college, and even then, it is always good to keep an eye open for everything happening outside of your own field.
The Hopper is a lively environmental literary magazine from Green Writers Press. The poetry, fiction, nonfiction, visual art, eco-criticism, and interviews they publish are all paths towards an invigorated understanding of nature’s place in human life, and are part of a new phase in nature writing and art that seeks to include a modern consciousness in narratives of place.