The poetry of our planet


John Delaney, a professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, remarked, “It’s important to realize, I think, that culturally – not just scientifically, but culturally – the oceans touch human beings in deep and important ways.”

Delaney’s name might sound familiar. He appeared on our very first episode of Ocean Gazing nearly two years ago. In this 50th episode of our series, we check back in with Delaney on how he blends science and poetry to achieve a deeper understanding of our planet. Have a listen.

Thanks to Emily Friedman and Stephanie Hughes. Music credit: Ocean Poetry by Eventide Blue.


John Delaney finds poetic inspiration gazing at the ocean during his research cruises.

Poet Michael Collier aboard one of John Delaney's science cruises.

Poet Michael Collier. Poetry readings have become a ritual aboard Delaney's research cruises. Credit: Veronique Robigou.

One of John Delaney's favorite haikus is by the 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho. Credit: Ed Jansen.

Two miles down the sea floor is a skull, / the wounded head of a monster - fractured, / faulted, ridged. -- Michael Collier

Education Standards

National Science Education Standards Grade 5 to 8

National Science Education Standards Grade 9 to 12

Ocean Literacy Principles

Send a Message

Send a message or a question to John Delaney, Susumu Honjo, Michael Collier, and/or Margaret Leinen:

The poetry of our planet


  1. […] water masses, and – believe it or not – poetry. In the 50th and final (for now) episode of the Ocean Gazing podcast, we consider the poems of our […]

  2. lisa eddy says:

    Wow! I discovered this site after hearing the feature on Living on Earth. I teach high school English, and I have developed a place-based American Lit course that engages learners in exploration of the natural world, combined with research into genre and writer’s craft to allow writers to express their visions of the landscape through multi-genre compositions. This site’s blend of science and poetry is an incredible resource that my students are sure to love. Thank you for doing this excellent work. ~~Peace

  3. Julie Karavan says:

    This site is such an AMAZING resource! Thank you 🙂

    I only wish I had found this earlier..I have had the pleasure of following the JOIDES Resolution online and participating in Adopt-A-Microbe (C-DEBI) with our 4-H club. Both of which integrated art – and specifically Haiku – with marine science.

    I am more of an art geek, so I am thrilled to find resources weaving my inclination toward word and images with my son’s passion for marine biology.



The poetry of our planet

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