My dissertation, the BP oil spill, and losing my waterhome

(or, the semi-coherent rantings of a doctoral student with aquatic tendencies)

A Leafy Sea Dragon

A Leafy Sea Dragon

My doctoral dissertation is tentatively titled AQUA and was conceived as a combination praise song for, and warning about what we humans are doing to, the water. In recent weeks, I’d been gearing up for the big push: making research contacts, applying for grants, and so on.

Then BP, Transocean, and Halliburton destroyed my beaches, my wetlands, my seafood, my Gulf. My (Louisiana) state government is suddenly surprised that it sold its soul to the devil. My federal government is reenacting its glacial Katrina response. My people (New Orleans and the Gulf Coast) are screaming, screaming for help and once again only hearing echoes.

When I can calm down, I’m going to write one hell of an essay about this for publication. Meanwhile, I’m diving into my dissertation and my comprehensive exams, occasionally surfacing to monitor the unfolding disaster and to send up distress flares. And I need your help.

I’m looking for any and all opportunities to help protect the Gulf while gathering material for my dissertation, as well as for any incidental nonfiction work that may pop up. Please let me know if you hear of anything.

For non-poets: I’m not a hobbyist. This is my academic and professional interest, born out of a lifetime on, in, around, and under the water. If you have any serious ongoing interest in the health of our oceans and waterways, I’m always happy to hear from you. I’ve assembled quite a Rolodex, as we say in the news business, and am seeking every possible opportunity to observe, to tag along, to interview, to be interviewed, to do fieldwork, to write articles, to write poems, in any location, real or virtual, anytime.

Specifically water-related experience: Lifelong canoer/sailor/lifeguard/swimming instructor; environmental reporter for Gambit, 1987-89 (Brown Pelican Award for Environmental Reporting, 1988, re: coastal erosion on Grand Isle); decent recreational/scientific diver (YMCA/NAUI/PADI/AAUS); former volunteer naturalist/diver/STSSN sighter, Aquarium of the Americas; experienced bareboat cruiser (Bahamas, 1980) and sail/dive cruiser (Galapagos, 2007); brief stint as fiberglass boat fairer, Seabrook Marine, ca. 1999.

Other skill sets: writing, reporting, teaching, multimedia, research, emergency communications, reef fish identification, rescue diving.

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One thought on “My dissertation, the BP oil spill, and losing my waterhome

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