The new issue of About Place was born from an abiding love for plants and animals and insects, for all creatures, so to speak, great and small.
But, more importantly, the work gathered here rejects the notion of treating humans as separate and superior, which is how the vast majority of people write about the topic.
For most of western, colonial history, the representation of non-human life in literature parallels the treatment of those beings in real life, meaning we have used plants and animals just as we’ve seen fit, generally for our profit and consumption. And in literature, they’re generally parceled out in likeminded ways—as metaphors for our own emotions, often anthropomorphized into a cartoon-like replicas of ourselves or else depicted as two-dimensional props, as background figures denied their own sentience and emotion.
Here then is a collection of voices that attempt to remedy this. The work in this issue attempts to decenter what’s human, abandoning the typical anthropocentric point of view to depict our more-than-human kin as fully formed. Each of these pieces reinforce the idea of these beings as our more-than-human kin, because while they are other than us, they are, in many ways, more than us as well. And as an evolutionary fact, they are our kin, bound to us, as we are bound to them.
We hope when you read this issue you’ll feel as we do—by turns surprised and elated. The contributors here sought to not just write about the more-than-human world but for them. We feel these efforts are deeply healing and necessary, especially in our over-developed, climate-changed world in which so many lives are in peril, both human and not.
All good things,
Nickole Brown & Erin Coughlin Hollowell