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My current project Field Guide is an attempt to explore notions of disappearance by zeroing in on extinction as a phenomenon. Each poem in the series takes as its subject an extinct plant or animal species, but rather than write about that species, I write around it, enacting a kind of textual ground where the figure has been erased. In practice, this requires me to first do a bit of research on the species – the IUCN Red List is a consistently good place to start. After I feel like I have read enough, I start improvising around the details of the species’ life and death, folding those details into explorations of development and imperialism, of exploration and exploitation. The improvisations are meant to take the form of entries in a handbook for the identification of extinct species in the wild that purports to assist readers in their attempts to find these unfindable creatures.

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