We recently published Jack Bedell’s lush “Swamp Thing Watches a Whale Make a Life Decision.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his story:

1) This is part of a Swamp Thing series of poems and micros that you’ve been working on (and which I adore!). What drew you to Swamp Thing for this series instead of, say, The Atom?

I fell for Swamp Thing the first time I read the comic in junior high. I loved that it was set in Louisiana and that all the frames looked like home. It was also my introduction to environmentalism, really. Alex Olsen/Alec Holland’s goal to invent a growth formula to bring vegetation to barren areas seemed like a noble goal to me, still does actually! And even after the scientist’s transformation into the Swamp Thing, he continued to defend the environment against corporations and the military’s industrial complex. The character just really epitomizes the concern I’d like my poems to have for south Louisiana’s wetlands. I’m active in my state’s efforts to restore our coast and preserve our wetlands, and I have a real feeling Swamp Thing would be on the front lines of this struggle if he could be.

2) What really drew me to this piece was the feeling of atmosphere, of place. The way Swamp Thing and the whale are both taking their time here, watching the world go by, as it were. Do you feel this kind of connection to the land, especially in the Swamp Thing’s realm?

I was born and raised in south Louisiana, surrounded by marshes and swamps in the Atchafalaya Basin. My home parish, Terrebonne, is on the Gulf coast and has suffered from coastal erosion and land loss caused by storms and other man-made disasters for well over a century. It’s the only home I’ve known, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else than here. Most of my writing celebrates the people, places, and culture of south Louisiana. I owe a tremendous debt to this place, and could not be more connected to it than I am.