George Quasha, “Talking Mushrooms: Mycopoiesis/Mycopoetics” (Audio)
What would it mean to speak of the “poetry of mushrooms?” The special nature and history of our awareness of mushrooms suggests a particular valence of this question. Now that we can speak of the intelligence and language of animals and the “botany of desire” as acknowledging a reciprocity between humans and the natural world, it’s time to look at the language in which we know and speak such discriminations as having its own poetics—its principles of coherence and communicative power. My personal experience of John Cage is that he knew something special in this domain, which impacted my life and practice—the domain of transformative language and “poetry as [we] need it.”
John Cage was an enthusiastic mycologist who expressed his interest in fungi in his music, his text compositions, and his visual art works, as well as in his lifelong mushroom collecting and identification activities. Organized by the John Cage Trust, John Cage Mycology Day, was a one-day event, featuring a mushroom walk and afternoon presentations, that celebrate Cage's passion for mushrooms and his multifarious contributions to mycology.