Reading Lynn White, Jr. and Analyzing Poems about St. Francis

For this discussion forum, you will analyze poems that discuss the legacy of St. Francis. To begin, I would like you to read this essay by Lynn White, Jr ” I attached it down” .This essay was original a lecture given by White in 1966, in which he argued that many environmental issues were the product of Western views of nature. The essay is a little difficult in places, but if you read this introduction ( ), it should give you solid footing as you read the essay itself.
In his essay, Lynn White, Jr. writes of St. Francis: “He tried to substitute the idea of the equality of all creatures, including man, for the idea of man’s limitless rule of creation.” In ways, the following poems connect with this idea of “equality.”
It’s worth pointing out that White’s essay was controversial when it was first published, and that many others since then have pointed to other interpretations of Western traditions and nature, such as Calvin Dewitt, who in this interview states (, “The Bible is an ecological handbook.”
For this assignment, there are four poems that you can potentially write about:
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Blessing the Animals” (
Gerald Stern, “Cow Worship” (
Ellen Bryant Voigt, “Cow” (
Galway Kinnell, “Saint Francis and the Sow” (
Once you have read through these poems, try to observe your initial thoughts and reactions to them. Then you will write 2-3 paragraphs where you connect one or two of these poems to our class discussions of humans and nature: The human and natural discussions are about how humans affect nature. There are many environmental issues are happening in our time because of the humanities and what they’re doing.