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Conversations with Birds

The Metaphysics of Bird and Human Communication

Foreword by Richard C. Wheeler
Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

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About The Book

• Discusses specific birdtalk techniques and offers insights into many species

• Looks at the long-standing tradition of “avitherapy” throughout history and in literature and the arts

• Explains how song-talk with birds restores peace, calms anxiety, and enhances health

For decades Alan Powers has studied bird vocalizations, developing the remarkable ability to imitate birds’ songs and get them to respond and even change tunes. Through his years of study, he has discovered that birds can teach us important lessons about the world and about ourselves. As Powers explains, by communing cross-species we reach out to the timeless interconnected web of all life past and present--what Renaissance philosopher Giordano Bruno called in Latin the Uni-versus, the “Whole turned into One.”

Sharing his journey to learn birdtalk and his profound observations about the poetic, spiritual, and healing influences of birdsong, Powers explores the ancient language of birds and the depth of meaning birds convey. He explains how bird speech sounds like song to us, but birdtalk is urgent and nuanced, whether about predators or the weather. He details how he began learning birdtalk, listening to one bird each summer, learning their many vocalizations and variations. Discussing specific techniques, he shares insights into the birdtalk of many species, including the complex and intelligent speech of Crows, the emotional depths of Loons, the mimicry of Blue Jays, and the beautiful song of the Wood Thrush.

Exploring the intertwined metaphysics of bird and human languages, Powers looks at the long-standing tradition of “avitherapy” throughout history, literature, and the arts. He shares insights into birds from Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, reveals how birds appear in love songs throughout the world, and examines how famous writers such as Keats, Catullus, St. Francis of Assisi, and the French historian Jules Michelet found that talking to birds improves their state of mind. He also explores how song-talk with birds restores peace, calms anxiety, and enhances health.

About The Author

Alan Powers earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota in 1974, with post-doctoral studies at Princeton, Brown, Harvard, Cornell, the Folger Library, Breadloaf, Villa Vergilliana (Italy), and the American Academy, Rome. He is professor emeritus of English at Bristol Community College, where he was chairman of the English department from 1988 to 1992. The author of several books, including The Worlds of Giordano Bruno, he lives in Westport, Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (February 21, 2023)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591434528

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