Aaron M. Moe

Assistant Professor of English at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame

Email to Students Tottering at the Edge of Brenda Hillman’s Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire

Image from beginningfarmers.org
“Know Your Seeds”: Image from Online Article on GMO Free Open Pollinated Organic Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

Hi Class,

For Wednesday afternoon, I am providing an alternative. You can read the essay and interview by/with David Abram (found in syllabus; and here: “The Ecology of Magic”; Interview with David Abram)….

OR you can read the attached essay “Plant Intelligence” [not attached here, of course]. I know that several of you are biology majors, and the agency of plants and seeds [o—o—o o—o—o o—o—o o—o—o] is a theme in Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire. 

And remember as you read that Hillman creates more of a compost. She goes underground and gives us an underground language. We are in the “ecology of the mind” which is an ecology of roots, rhizome, seeds, fire.

Language is the mirror of the mind. Here, language is destroyed and remade. Consciousness then breaks down and is remade. I know it is *tough* reading, but given the scale of the environmental challenges facing all of us today, we need alternative ways of thinking and being. Alternative ways of epistemology and ontology. Alternative ways of being in language and in our mind and in government.

Remember, too, that this is LYRIC poetry. If there are narratives or stories, they are often burst asunder by the associative leaps between images–and images are their own interrelated intellectual-and-emotional systems. We are, after all, underground in the subconscious, closer to the hippocampus and the vortex of dreams, R.E.M. and such than in the frontal lobe of our brain. If you read too much with the frontal lobe, you will get a headache. You gotta break through and read with your hippocampus [which may seem like a joke but is not at all a joke].

Please come to class with questions, insights, and more questions.

All best,



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All this work by Aaron Moe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://aaronmoe.com.