Introduction: The Gray Heron (02:47)
Elisa New watches great blue herons at Cape Cod; she discusses the meaning of The Gray Heron and introduces her guests. E.O. Wilson, Robert Haas, Laura McPhee and Joel Wagner recite the poem by Gallway Kinnel.
Inventive Heron (02:02)
Haas considers the perspectives of other living creatures; Wilson describes his desire for discovery. New and guests discuss the American spelling of "gray," in consideration of the bird's exclusive existence.
McPhee asserts that the poem is about observation; wildlife sanctuary students describe the awkward movement of a heron; Haas and New compare cadence to motions. Wilson explains the scientist's mind; McPhee relates poetry to photography as she takes pictures outdoors.
Aesthetic Surprise (03:53)
New and guests discuss the expectation defying transformation of the heron; they consider mistaken identity and metaphor. They deliberate Kinnel's description of the lizard's ill-fitting skin.
Time Traveling (03:03)
Wilson asserts that The Gray Heron describes evolution. New and McPhee consider the transition from lizard to rock to represent geological time and acceptance of science.
New and guests discuss themes of change, surprise and animism; she refers to the transformation of subjects in Ovid's Metamorphoses. She and McPhee refer to spiritualization of the inanimate. Wilson explains the evolution of human intelligence through language development.
The narrator of "The Gray Heron" is watched by the same lizard described, and considers its perspective; naturalist students discuss its perceived expectations of change. Haas refers to animism and lending human qualities to non-human creatures; McPhee explains the scope of the piece. Hear guests recite the poem over watercolor animation.
Credits: The Gray Heron (00:42)
Credits: The Gray Heron
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