From the first chord, I knew I was going to fall in love with Martha Redbone’s Garden of Love. Her vocal and musical interpretation of William Blake’s poetry is hauntingly beautiful. It’s swampy. It’s spiritual. It’s romantic ecology set to music.

In high school, I flunked freshman English class. On the first day of class, my teacher bent down and whispered into my ear, “I’ve heard about you. You’re going to fail my class.” Even though he pinned my papers and poems to his classroom walls–as examples of excellent work–he flunked me at the end of term. So I needed to make up that credit over the summer. To do this, I was “home-schooled” by my aunt.

My aunt designed a curriculum that not only met the school’s requirements, it exceeded it. Aunt Susan knew I’d be bored filling out worksheets. She introduced me to Pope, Wordsworth and Blake. She assigned a lot of reading, and in particular, a lot of Shakespeare. For my summer assignments, I read and analyzed their poetry; I tapped my fingers to iambic pentameter. I wrote essays and sonnets. I fell in love with the Romantics. Reading their poetry probably influenced my passion for environmental science. I was born a poet but I grew to love ecology–partly born out of my love for William Blake and the Romantics.

Listen to Martha Redbone’s Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake. Find her on Youtube.