By John Felstiner
Poems vivifying nature have gripped humans for hundreds of years. From Biblical times to the trendy, poetry has constantly drawn us to the wildlife. during this thought-provoking booklet, John Felstiner explores the wealthy legacy of poems that take nature as their topic, and he demonstrates their strength and sweetness. In our personal time of environmental crises, he contends, poetry has a different potential to revive our consciousness to the environment in its imperiled kingdom. And, as we take heed, we could turn into higher stewards of the earth.In 40 short and lucid chapters, Felstiner offers these voices that experience so much strongly spoken to and for the wildlife. Poets—from the Romantics via Whitman and Dickinson to Elizabeth Bishop and Gary Snyder—have helped us envision such info as ocean winds eroding and rebuilding dunes within the related breath, wild deer freezing in our presence, and an individual carving initials on a still-living stranded whale.Sixty colour and black-and-white photographs, many obvious for the 1st time, bearout visually the environmental mind's eye this publication discovers—a poeticlegacy extra very important now than ever. (20090817)
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Extra resources for Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems
In legend as in everyday life, in spiritual and earthly ways, we react to our environment. Weather’s doings literally touch on our own in this medieval lyric, thanks to the genius of poetic language, the grace of metaphor: wind and rain turn toward love and home. Meta-phor, an “across-carrying” from one realm to another, from nature to us, gives both realms new point: windy orator, rain of insults, stormy relationship, stream of consciousness, bear market, and so on. ” What would hymns, gospel, blues, folk songs from all times and places do without wind, rain, sky, rivers, shores, roads?
From Etienne Houvet, Cathédrale de Chartres; north portal (thirteenth century) (Chelles, France, 1919). A deep current runs from our mythic beginnings, from a world spoken into being—“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light”—into Adam’s genius for naming. Made in the image of God, humankind gets an earthly version of that divine creative power. ”) Why and how we name the things of our world must stem, like much else good and ill, from the savvy of Homo sapiens. In this sense, we are all poets.
Adam is of the “earth,” adamah, and the first humans are “given every green herb for meat,” then told to let the land rest every seventh year for replenishing. Just as vital to the Bible scene and story is an everpresent wilderness where momentous events take place. “In the wilderness,” God gives water to Hagar and Ishmael, Moses encounters God as the Hebrews wander toward Canaan, Elijah hears the Lord’s “still small voice,” Isaiah’s voice “crieth in the wilderness” preparing a way for Messiah, and Jesus resists temptation.