Woodrat Podcast 7: Chris Bolgiano and Marcia Bonta Share Tales from the Nature-Writing Trenches

A conversation with Chris Bolgiano and Marcia Bonta (Part 1 of 2)

Chris Bolgiano and Marcia Bonta
Chris Bolgiano and Marcia Bonta

Two Appalachian-based authors of mid-list nonfiction books about ecology and natural history share their experiences with publishers, editors, Eastern cougars and other dangerous beasts. Today’s show focuses mainly on writing; next week’s show will be devoted to environmental issues facing the region.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

7 Replies to “Woodrat Podcast 7: Chris Bolgiano and Marcia Bonta Share Tales from the Nature-Writing Trenches”

  1. I was especially interested by the discussion of publishing with university presses as compared to commercial ones, especially as the subject of university presses had already arisen over at the Phoenicia Press blog.

    It’s something we don’t really have in the UK – there are few university presses apart from Oxford and Cambridge and I don’t think any but those biggies publish anything apart from scholarly (in the narrowest sense of the word) books. So it’s not an option for poets or naturalists or other writers in broadly cultural and less than commercially mainstream fields.

    1. Yes, some university presses even do fiction now, and many do poetry. The University of Pittsburgh Press, for example, is one of the best-regarded — and most commercially successful — poetry publishers in the country. And in the same medium-sized Rust Belt city, Carnegie Mellon University Press also has a great poetry list.

  2. And I loved the part about the cougars, and would like to know more about the arguments pro and con.

    In Vermont, the questions of reintroducing large mammals has been very controversial, and for good reasons, I think — moose have been a big problem, and some want to reintroduce wolves. I’d like to see you write a post about this one, Dave.

  3. “I sort of used writing as a way to teach myself. They say, ‘Write what you know.’ I wrote about what I wanted to know and taught myself a lot of forestry and ecology in the process.” — Chris Bolgiano in Woodrat Podcast #7.

    That helped me. I never could write what I know.

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