When the Earth Started to Sing ‹ Literary Hub


Emergence Magazine is an online publication with annual print edition exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Our podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories and more.

In this audio experience by biologist and acclaimed author David George Haskell, we are invited to be attentive to the songs and stories that thrum in the air around us. Hearing three billion years of our planets sound evolutiona lineage of languagein the trills, hoops, barks, bugles, clicks, and pulses of the life around him, David shares the connection to both deep time and the more-than-human world that can be found when we tune in to the Earths orchestra. Made entirely of the tiny trembling waves in air, the fugitive, ephemeral energy that we call sound, this experience combines human speech with other voices to immerse our senses and imaginations in the generative, provoking, and unifying power of sound.

If you enjoy this audio story, check out Davids companion practice,Playful Listening, which invites you to immerse yourself in the sonic world around you. Andlistento our interview with David, Listening and the Crisis of Inattention on our website.


Listen to the rest of this story on Emergence Magazines website or by subscribing to the podcast.

David Haskell is a writer and a biologist. His latest book, Sounds Wild and Broken, explores the story of sound on Earth and is a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction and the PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The book is also an Editors Choice at The New York Times. His previous books, The Forest Unseen and The Songs of Trees are acclaimed for their integration of science, poetry, and rich attention to the living world. Among their honors include the National Academies Best Book Award, John Burroughs Medal, finalist for Pulitzer Prize, Iris Book Award, Reed Environmental Writing Award, National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and runner-up for the PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Haskell received his BA from the University of Oxford and PhD from Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, a Guggenheim Fellow, and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, USA.

Daniel Livano is an editorial illustrator and author based in Bogot, Colombia. He is deeply inspired by semiotics, linguistics, and the meaning of language. Notable clients includeThe New Yorker,Harpers,The Atlantic,Penguin Random House, andRadioambulante. He won a Gold Medal from The Society of Illustrators for his first graphic novel,Gravity,and the AOI World Illustration Award for the animated illustration accompanying When the Earth Started to Sing forEmergence Magazine.

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