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The Wildstory: A Podcast of Poetry and Plants launched in August 2023. I am the host of the show, which I produce with Master Gardener Kim Correro for The Native Plant Society of New Jersey.

 

Art and nature intercept in each episode to bring listeners inside the world of poetry about the natural world and to introduce them to other well-known voices from the world of ecology. This show challenges us all to think about our own relationship with nature. 

Listen on iTunes (apple podcasts)Spotify, or Amazon Music

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Episode 8: Poet Tess Taylor and Native Plant Advocate Janet Crouch

Poet Tess Taylor speaks with Ann Wallace about her new anthology Leaning Toward Light: Poems for Gardens and the Hands That Tend Them (Story Publishing 2023) and the ability of poems to carry us through the seasons of planting, tending, grieving, harvesting, sharing in a world filled with both joy and crisis. We reflect on the deliberate cultivation of happiness as a discipline, and at the end of our conversation, we spend some time with Tess’s most recent solo collection, Rift Zone, published in 2020 by Red Hen Press.

Dr. Randi Eckel introduces the New School Guide offered by NPSNJ created by the Essex Chapter of NPSNJ and then answers a question from a listener who is having issues with poison ivy in her backyard for the latest installment of Ask Randi.

Kim Correro joins Ann Wallace to talk with native plant advocate Janet Crouch from Howard County, Maryland who fought a protracted legal battle with her Homeowners’ Association over her native plant garden—and won!

To close out the episode, Rachel Mackow, writer and co-owner of Wild Ridge Plants , joins us. “Winter Thaw” is one of the winners of the Seed Challenge that we ran earlier this fall, sponsored by Jennifer Jewell, host of Cultivating Place and Timber Press. Rachel and two other winners each received a copy of Jennifer’s book What We Sow: On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds.

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Episode 7: Poet Emily Hockaday and Sustainable Landscape Designer Elaine Silverstein

Poet Emily Hockaday speaks with Ann Wallace about her new poetry collection, In a Body, published in October 2023 by Harbor Editions. Emily discusses the layered ways in which new motherhood, the death of her father, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia—as well as science and ecology—have shaped Emily’s work, much of which she composed while walking with her child on the trails of Forest Park in Queens, New York. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. In this episode, Randi answers a question from Gail about using cardboard as mulch to suppress weeds. 

Kim Correro joins the conversation to talk with sustainable landscape designer and naturalist Elaine Silverstein about rethinking the lawn. Elaine will further share her expertise in “Choosing, Planting, and Caring for Native Plants,” a workshop for The Native Plant Society of New Jersey, to be offered in January. Registration opens on December 4 at NPSNJ.org.

And to close out the episode, poet Theta Pavis shares “Growing Avocadoes in East Orange,” winner of the Seed Challenge that The WildStory ran earlier this fall, sponsored by Jennifer Jewell and Timber Press. Theta and two other winners each received a copy of Jennifer’s book What We Sow: On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds.

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Episode 6: Guest Host N. West Moss Interviews Poet Ann E. Wallace and We Talk with Best-Selling Author Brie Arthur

Guest host N. West Moss, author of the memoir Flesh and Blood (Algonquin Press), joins us for the opening interview of today’s episode. West turns the tables to interview The WildStory host and Jersey City Poet Laureate Ann E. Wallace about her new poetry collection, Days of Grace and Silence: A Chronicle of COVID’s Long Haul, forthcoming from Kelsay Books in winter 2024. They speak about Ann’s isolation and turn to writing when she fell ill at the start of the pandemic and through her long recovery, but also about community and the presence of nature as a reminder of hope and resilience. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel, who offers suggestions for shady groundcover plants in a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann in conversation with Brie Arthur—a frequent contributor to the PBS television show “Growing a Greener World” and leader in the foodscape revolution. Brie the Plant Lady discusses her move years ago toward foodscaping and how you might visually blend food crops into your yard. Brie also opens up about the severe health impacts she has faced from tick-borne illnesses and the preventive measures that gardeners and nature enthusiasts might take to protect against Alpha-Gal Syndrome and Lyme Disease.

Episode 5: Poet Susan Glass and Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society

Poet Susan Glass, who has been blind since birth, speaks with Ann Wallace about the integral role birds have played in her life—and in her poetry—as she uses their songs and calls to locate herself, spatially and metaphorically, in the natural world. She also brings listeners into the creative process of completing her chapbook The Wild Language of Deer, published in 2022 by Slate Roof Press. It is a collection filled with delight, birdsong, and wonder. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann in conversation with Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society and author of Life in the Meadowlands. Don, who has spent a lifetime exploring New Jersey’s Meadowlands, shares his deep knowledge of the habitat’s birds, and the plants they depend on, and he reminds us of the steps we can take to protect the birds in our communities. 

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Episode 4: Poet Christine Klocek-Lim and Jennifer Jewell, Cultivating Place host & author of What We Sow

In this episode, poet Christine Klocek-Lim talks with Ann Wallace about the ways in which her work engages with nature, whether she is taking us onto the trail with her or creating the sequence of persona poems in her new chapbook Nomenclatura, forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press. Christine reflects on the human history held within seemingly wild spaces, the precarity of life, and the communal element of the being outdoors. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann in conversation with Jennifer Jewell, host of the podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden in advance of her appearance at the Garden Futures Summit in New York City hosted by The Garden Conservancy on September 29. Jennifer speaks with us about her new book What We Sow, from Timber Press, a book germinated in the early months of the pandemic, when the widespread seed shortage led Jennifer into a fascinating and moving reflection on the cultural, environmental, and metaphoric meaning of seeds.

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Episode 3: Poet January Gill O'Neil and Edwina Von Gal of the Perfect Earth Project

Poet January Gill O’Neil speaks with Ann Wallace about her new collection, Glitter Road, forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in February 2024. January discusses her year as the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, and her immersion in the difficult cultural history of the south, as laid against its rich and fertile landscape. She also reflects on the ways in which the pandemic, which began toward the end of residency, allowed time for family, writing, and observation of the natural world. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann Wallace in the final segment for an important conversation with renowned landscape designer Edwina Von Gal in advance of her appearance at the Garden Futures Summit in New York City, which is hosted by the Garden Conservancy on Sept 29. Edwina speaks about sustainable design and the Perfect Earth Project, as well as her Two Thirds for the Birds initiative, which offers an easy-to-remember strategy for incorporating native plants into our gardens.

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Episode 2: Poet Lisbeth White and Botanical Illustrator Katy Lyness 

Lisbeth White, a poet from Washington State and author of American Sycamore (Perugia Press, 2022) speaks with Ann Wallace about how ancestry, myth, and stories are contained within the American landscape, reflecting on the simultaneous beauty and historic violence evoked and held within the trees and waterways of this nation, and how ritual might help restore connection to the land. We also hear from Dr. Randi Eckel, President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann Wallace for a lively conversation with botanical illustrator Katy Lyness, delving into the past roles and present joy of the art form. 

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Episode 1: Poet Sati Mookherjee and Kim Rowe of the Independent Garden Center

Sati Mookherjee, a poet from the Pacific Northwest, speaks with Ann Wallace about her new collection Ways of Being, published by MoonPath Press in 2023. Sati delves into grief, language, and the quiet observation of the landscape of the Sailish Sea where she lives in Washington State. In the second segment of this episode, co-producer Kim Correro joins Ann for a conversation with Kim Rowe of the Independent Garden Center Initiative.

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