A book from the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, showing extensive water and insect damage. Global warming is responsible for increasing harm to the world's cultural heritage.
It's been a rough year for Blickling Hall, a spectacular Jacobean manor house in Norwich, England, owned by the National Trust. In June, torrential rains and flooding caused serious damage to the property, including water damage to priceless and irreplaceable seventeenth- century plaster ceilings. The increase in severe weather, including hurricanes in the Caribbean and flooding in Britain, has been attributed to global warming, as warmer sea and air temperatures wreak havoc with weather systems around the world. One major threat that Britain faces is the possibility that warmer sea temperatures will disrupt the Gulf Stream, which circulates warm water and air from the Gulf of Mexico toward Britain, creating England's temperate (and wet) climate. (England is further north than Minnesota, yet the climate is more temperate; tropical plants, native to the Canary Islands, thrive year-round in Cornwall.) But at Blickling Hall, there is a smaller, but not insignificant threat posed by warmer global temperatures. Conservators working in the library have discovered a large infestation of bookworms eating their way through the rare books in the library's collection. The worms are the larvae of the deathwatch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum), and their numbers have quadrupled in 2006-2007 because of warmer temperatures, damper conditions, and the absence of prolonged killing frosts. Deathwatch beetles get their name because the ticking sound they make as they eat was often the only sound heard in homes where watches were being held over the bodies of the dead. Now that ticking is one of the unexpected sounds of the time bomb of global warming.
Link: Local news story about the damage at Blickling Hall.
My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .
The frontispiece from Countee Cullen's The Black Christ and Other Poems (1929). Illustration by Charles Cullen. Click to enlarge. On...
Here's the poem I wrote and read for the student-organized International Day of Peace gathering in Bridge Square on Wednesday, Septembe...
In early August, the director of the Northfield Public Library, Teresa Jensen, asked me to write a poem to be displayed prominently in the...