Friday, October 7, 2011
A Ghost's Day Off
Tomas Transtromer won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Sweden erupted in jubilation, and so did plenty of other people who love poetry! Over at Escape Into Life, you can read Patricia Clark's poems, including one called "Poem Ending with a Line from Transtromer," and a beautiful line it is. So is the rest of her poetry.
I interviewed Patricia Clark on her work, here, in the EIL Blog, and I was especially curious about her take on "nature poetry" and its stigma/sudden trendiness. She points out, quoting Gary Snyder, that it used to be "'death' for a poet to be called a 'nature poet,'" and I have certainly read guidelines that say, "We don't want garden poems" and heard editors say, "I hate nature poems."
I agree with Patricia that it's usually best to read the poem closely and see what's going on, rather than labeling and dismissing it, and I wish more readers and editors would do so. This ties in with The Geography of Bliss, too, by Eric Weiner, whose happiness research confirms that we find great joy in being open to nature and to the beauty of our surroundings.
And nature is not all beauty, either. It's what's going on. ("It's what's for dinner.")
Anyhoo, I'd be interested in your thoughts on "nature poetry" here or at the EIL Blog interview. How do you define it? If you have written poems about nature, have you run into the stigma? If you are a reader, what turns you off or on in poems that include nature? If you are a reader and writer of poems, have you, too, noticed the irony or hypocrisy of "eco-friendly" poems emerging in an age that has tended to despise "nature poetry"?