How can I respond to Lance Larsen's In All Their Animal Brilliance? I could say that I am not equal to the task of adequately analyzing or appreciating this collection of poems, but therein lies the responsibility to respond: Should I shrink from reviewing poems Larsen did not shrink from writing? Larsen takes on something bigger than himself, and he presents the telestial world of mortality with brilliant humility.
In some ways it is ironic that the word that signifies human existence on the earth, mortality, has the Latin root mort, or death. To be alive on earth means to be subject to death. As we live, we see death all about us. Surviving organisms depend on the death of other organisms for them to live. Carnivorous animals are an obvious example of this; even a vegetarian human who pulls a carrot out of the ground to eat has stayed alive through the death of another organism.