We at the Center for Humans and Nature are thrilled to share a new series of volumes inspired by kinship—its reality in our lives, the possibilities for strengthening our bonds with our fellow earthlings, and invitations for how we can cultivate these relationships on behalf of more adaptive, resilient, and beautiful communities of life. Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations is a lively series that explores our deep interconnections with the living world. More than seventy contributors guide readers into cosmologies, narratives, and everyday interactions that embrace a more-than-human world as worthy of our response and responsibility.
For this issue of Minding Nature, I selected two representative essays and poems that highlight each of the volumes—Volume 1, Planet; Volume 2, Place; Volume 3, Partners; Volume 4, Persons; and Volume 5, Practice. I believe readers will sense the depth of thought, storytelling, and emotional range in the volumes from these selections.
Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations has been an exciting project for many reasons. The books mark the inaugural effort of the Center for Humans and Nature Press (with distribution by Chelsea Green Publishing)—an opportunity to creatively shape the feel and scope of book materials in a way that coheres with the Center’s mission and values. This project has also led to collaborations beyond the written word, including a beautifully crafted radio show and podcast with Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge. Please visit, download, and savor these incredible episodes, expertly guided by co-hosts Anne Strainchamps and Steve Paulson (humansandnature.org/kinship/podcast). We also want to draw your attention to the stunning online art gallery Making Kin, curated by artist and scientist Andrew Yang (makingkin.net). These visual explorations of kinship contribute oftentimes unexpected layers and dimensions to the meaning and practice of kinship in a more-than-human world, lighting up the imagination with new possibilities.
Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations is a guide and companion for the ways we can deepen our care and respect for the family of fungi, plants, rivers, mountains, non-human animals, and others who live with us in this exuberant, life-generating, planetary tangle of relations. I hope these sample poems and essays lure you to the books, the audio, and the online art gallery—but, ultimately, I hope they draw you further into the wonders of the world we gratefully share with our wild and astoundingly diverse non-human kin.