Truth Matters

Truth Matters
by Gary D. Grossman

So I’m cruising down South Lumpkin Street, earbuds uniting me with a famous poet on the famous poet poetry podcast, (snide, I know, and even I taste the mild yellow of envy), when the famous poet makes a pitch for fabrication in writing; all in the name of creating pieces with just the right lobes and invaginations to pen the best poetic jigsaw puzzle—and I get it, I really do. At first look, synthesized nature always seems better than the greenery growing on an orb that truly turns, but what about biological fails—birds, fishes or trees banished to imagined habitats one thousand seventy-four miles away, or in the ocean rather than a stream. Choices made not for literature, but from simple; well no point in being rude and delving those depths, even though poets are supposed to be the best observers.

But doesn’t a small part of nature die when a poet misplaces an organism—mother Right Whales calving off Nova Scotia rather than Georgia, edible mussel fisheries in North Carolina rather than Maine, cardinals in Eugene instead of Topeka, minnows swimming in the ocean; and to you only, will I admit, this is just my own idiosyncratic, poetic pet peeve; a continual gnat bite felt only by myself, my three biologist-poet colleagues, and five astute birders and marine biologists? I strain to pop the hot bubbles forming in my small intestine when someone writes about the fir trees in South Georgia, even though those dislocated trees cause me to reach down into the cavities of my brain, down into the small and cranky lobe that houses emotional maturity, to ask “does it really matter?” Will anyone besides our small flock of literary biologists know that this cardinal is facing the wrong direction for sunrise, or that the Right Whale mother grieves for a calf on track to a quick demise in the ultra-cold waters of the North?

Still, even eight people count for something.


Gary Grossman, Professor Emeritus of Ecology, University of Georgia, has poems, short fiction and essays in 47 literary reviews. His work has been nominated for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions and Pushcart Prize for 2023. For 10 years Gary wrote “Ask Dr. Trout” for American Angler Magazine. Gary’s poetry books Lyrical Years (2023, Kelsay), What I Meant to Say Was… (2023, Impspired Press), and graphic memoir My Life in Fish—One Scientist’s Journey… (2023, Impspired) all may be purchased from Amazon.

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