Monday, 11 June 2012

Ars Poetica (3): Nature Poetry and Ecopoetry 21-Word Challenge

UPDATE, 14 June 2012 ... thank you very much for your comments. I will post those received here on 21 June.

Footprints ...

When it comes to writing poetry, I sometimes catch myself wondering about the very nature of 'nature' (see here). I am fascinated by those who feel that poetry exists for its own sake and by those who feel that poetry often works best as the vehicle for a message e.g. an environmental warning. I find myself pondering the following question, often in relation to a particular poem ...

What precisely is the difference between Nature Poetry and Ecopoetry? 

This is the stuff of lengthy theses, but I thought it might be a useful exercise for those of us who are interested to try to whittle our responses down to a slimline 21 words.

Why 21? Well, it will allow a little more scope than the average Anglicised Haiku. 21 is a Fibonacci number and therefore a 'building block', if you like, for the natural world.

This is not a competition: there are no prizes (sorry!). Your answer should not be on a postcard. It does not need to be in the form of a poem. I just thought it would provide a snapshot of interest on a subject that concerns many of us who write: I would value your responses.

If you feel like joining in, please leave your 21 words in my Comments box below or email them to me ... and I will endeavour to post all those that seem helpful and pertinent on 21 June 2012.

I much look forward to seeing our answers!  

P.S. An optional extra would be to post the title of the first book (just the first, please) that really got you thinking about the natural world in relation to ecopoetry. We can then share these with other readers.


Belva Rae Staples said...

Nature poetry extols the beauty and splendor of the natural world without sounding a warning that it is being ruinously exploited.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I teach a creative writing class devoted to environmental writing versus nature writing! I'll try and think of a neat 21 word definition....

I think in general though that you need to be careful with poetry that is trying to deliver a message, too much focus on the message and it becomes a political rant rather than poetry. Having said that I read so much poetry these days that seems to not really have anything to say that sometimes its quite refreshing to find an overtly political poem

I'd recommend Earth Shattering edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe as a wonderful anthology of eco-poetry and nature poetry.

Individual poets I'd recommend include: W S Merwin, Chrystos, Ruth Padel, Margaret Atwood...