This article is taken from Stand 240, 21(4) December 2023 - February 2024.

John Whale Editorial
A few weeks ago I was preparing to give a lecture on the subject of poetry and ‘creaturely life’ for a new ‘Writing Environments’ module here at the University of Leeds. My chosen poems were: D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Snake’ and ‘Man and Bat’; Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘The Fish’ and ‘Sandpiper’; Ted Hughes’s ‘Pike’ and ‘Thrushes’; Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Animals in that Country’; Lorna Goodison’s ‘Elephant’; Jorie Graham’s ‘Are we’; and Pascale Petit’s ‘For a Coming Extinction’. A couple of days before the lecture I picked up the Guardian and starting reading a short article on a new book by Ed Yong entitled An Immense World. My attention was soon attracted by the topic of animal intelligence in the context of neurodiversity. Yong’s book – the winner of the Trivedi Science Book Prize – was described as an: ‘epic exploration of the unique “umwelt”, or sensory world of other creatures, which sense the world in vastly different ways from humans. It is also a plea for greater empathy with other species.’ And Yong himself was quoted as saying:
Our greatest sensory gift is our ability to think about the sensory worlds of other animals […] There’s a surprising number of sensory biologists who are themselves neuroatypical – they have something like face blindness or colour blindness […] Their different way of experiencing the world themselves might help them better empathise with other creatures who have those experiences. The core of this book is curiosity and empathy, understanding and valuing animals for their own sake, and trying to put ourselves in the shoes of creatures who are very different to ...
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