Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems

Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems

by John Felstiner
     
 

Poems vivifying nature have gripped people for centuries. From Biblical times to the present day, poetry has continuously drawn us to the natural world. In this thought-provoking book, John Felstiner explores the rich legacy of poems that take nature as their subject, and he demonstrates their force and beauty. In our own time of environmental crises, he

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Overview

Poems vivifying nature have gripped people for centuries. From Biblical times to the present day, poetry has continuously drawn us to the natural world. In this thought-provoking book, John Felstiner explores the rich legacy of poems that take nature as their subject, and he demonstrates their force and beauty. In our own time of environmental crises, he contends, poetry has a unique capacity to restore our attention to our environment in its imperiled state. And, as we take heed, we may well become better stewards of the earth.

In forty brief and lucid chapters, Felstiner presents those voices that have most strongly spoken to and for the natural world. Poets—from the Romantics through Whitman and Dickinson to Elizabeth Bishop and Gary Snyder—have helped us envision such details as ocean winds eroding and rebuilding dunes in the same breath, wild deer freezing in our presence, and a person carving initials on a still-living stranded whale.

Sixty color and black-and-white images, many seen for the first time, bear

out visually the environmental imagination this book discovers—a poetic

legacy more vital now than ever.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300168136
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
10/26/2010
Pages:
440
Sales rank:
908,403
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations....................xi
Preface The Poetry of Earth Is Never Dead....................xiii
Introduction Care in Such a World....................1
PART ONE "stony rocks for the conies" Singing Ecology unto the Lord....................19
"Western wind, when will thou blow" Anon Was an Environmentalist....................28
"The stationary blasts of waterfalls" Blake, the Wordsworths, and the Dung....................34
"The white Eddy-rose ... obstinate in resurrection" Coleridge Imagining....................39
"last oozings hours by hours" John Keats Eking It Out....................46
"Its only bondage was the circling sky" John Clare at Home in Helpston....................56
"Nature was naked, and I was also" Adamic Walt Whitman....................64
"Earth's most graphic transaction" Syllables of Emily Dickinson....................75
"sick leaves ... storm-birds ... rotten rose ... rain-drop" Nature Shadowing Thomas Hardy....................88
"freshness deep down things" The World Charged by Gerard Manley Hopkins....................94
"O honey bees,/Come build in the empty house of the stare" Nature Versus History in W. B. Yeats....................104
PART TWO "strangeness from my sight" Robert Frost and the Fun in How You Say a Thing....................115
"white water rode the black forever" Frost and the Necessity of Metaphor....................123
"Larks singing over No Man's Land" England Thanks to Edward Thomas, 1914-1917....................130
"the necessary angel of earth" Wings of Wallace Stevens....................136
"broken/seedhusks" Reviving America with William CarlosWilliams....................141
"source then a blue as" Williams and the Environmental News....................149
"room for me and a mountain lion" D. H. Lawrence in Taormina and Taos....................162
"not man/Apart" Ocean, Rock, Hawk, and Robinson Jeffers....................170
"submerged shafts of the// sun,/split like spun/glass" Marianne Moore's Fantastic Reverence....................176
"There, there where those black spruces crowd" To Steepletop and Ragged Island with Edna St. Vincent Millay....................184
"Gale sustained on a slope" Pablo Neruda at Machu Picchu....................194
"the wild/braid of creation/trembles" Stanley Kunitz-His Nettled Field, His Dune Garden....................202
"Bright trout poised in the current" Things Whole and Holy for Kenneth Rexroth....................211
"I swayed out on the wildest wave alive" Theodore Roethke from Greenhouse to Seascape....................216
"That they are there!" George Oppen's Psalm of Attentiveness....................223
"surprised at seeing" Elizabeth Bishop Traveling....................228
"Why is your mouth all green?" Something Alive in May Swenson....................239
PART THREE "care in such a world" Earth Home to William Stafford....................251
"The season's ill" America's Angst and Robert Lowell's....................259
"that witnessing presence" Life Illumined Around Denise Levertov....................266
"the tree making us/look again" Shirley Kaufman's Roots in the Air....................275
"that the rock might see" News of the North from John Haines....................282
"asking for my human breath" Trust in Maxine Kumin....................290
"What are you doing out here/this windy" Wind in the Reeds in the Voice of A. R. Ammons....................294
"between the earth and silence" W. S. Merwin's Motion of Mind....................301
"bear blood" and "Blackberry Eating" Zest of Galway Kinnell....................309
"Kicking the Leaves" Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon at Eagle Pond Farm....................318
"I dared not cast// But silently cast" Ted Hughes Capturing Pike....................327
"the still pond and the egrets beating home" Derek Walcott, First to See Them....................335
"It looks just like the Cascades" Gary Snyder's Eye for the Real World....................344
"Just imagine" Can Poetry Save the Earth?....................355
Sources....................359
Text Credits....................373
Acknowledgments....................378
Index....................381

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