Poetry for naturalists (1)

Back on August 3, Chris Clarke wrote A paean to Charles Simic to note his getting a new job. It began:

I’ve read some of your poems.
You seem to notice birds a lot.
They show up in a lot of your poems
but you don’t say what kind of birds they are.
Are they warblers? Owls?
Robins, or big brooding hawks?
Whooping cranes? You don’t tell us.

And when the birds sit in a tree or shrub
you don’t tell us what kind of tree or shrub. It’s OK.
Not everyone is curious about that kind of thing,
and even if you told us it was a nightingale
and that it was on a Liquidambar branch
most of us wouldn’t know what either of those was.

I’m a huge fan of Charles Simic, especially of his earlier books, so I kind of bristled at the post. It seems unfair to single out Simic for something that so many poets are guilty of. On the other hand, Chris does address something I’ve thought about a lot in reference to my own work: how specific can we get in talking about nature without losing half our audience, which neither knows nor cares about such details?

It’s been interesting to read the submissions that have come into qarrtsiluni over the last twelve days. “Insecta” is the first theme we’ve had where carelessness about natural history can get otherwise stellar submissions rejected. Marly and Ivy made it clear in their call for submissions that they welcomed all manner of literary and artistic creations, including those that are merely inspired by insects; a poem doesn’t have to be what Chris Clarke might consider a nature poem in order to pass muster. But it can’t be about spiders! I really don’t think it’s too much to ask that a literate person at least be able to distinguish an insect from an arachnid.

I’d go further and suggest that it’s not too much to ask anyone who calls him- or herself a poet to take a strong interest in learning the English names of most of the common, macroscopic species that call their bioregion home, in the same way s/he should have a working knowledge of Greek mythology and the Bible. It’s basic knowledge that can only enrich one’s appreciation for the world. And poets are all about vocabulary, right? It doesn’t have to make it into your work, but for Christ’s sake, at least give a shit!

Simic, on the other hand, is unapologetically anthropocentric: “Human beings and what happen to them are much more of a presence in my poems than, let’s say, nature,” he told an interviewer in 1977. He went on:

The problem with the so-called nature poems is that they generate all that false, easy pantheism and mysticism. Sure, we have such experiences, but they are really rare. I distrust poets who have a mystical experience each time they look at a tree or a falling leaf. It just doesn’t happen. It’s a kind of fakery. I’m all for nature and all the good, wholesome thoughts it produces in human beings, but in moderation. I mean it’s harder to deal with a city and that totally fucked up world of super highways, slums, subways, and the poor bastards who have to go to work every day in that world. Religious emotions about nature are easy; this other thing — that’s very difficult. That’s why I always respected David Ignatow, who has written so many incredible portraits of poor unfortunates who make their living in this monstrous world. I see a kind of integrity there. We are surrounded by piles and piles of shit, and it’s not something we can dismiss. It’s where we live. You’ve got to look at it and do something about it.

That’s from Simic’s The Uncertain Certainty: Interviews, Essays, and Notes on Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 1985).

Again, as with Chris’ “Paean,” there are points here I do agree with, depending on what kind of “nature poems” we are talking about. However, his insistence that poets should be primarily concerned with the plight of modern, industrial humanity is eerily similar to the official position on poetry in most 20th-century communist regimes, inluding the one Simic and his family fled in Yugoslavia. To me, all good poetry is nature poetry; I’m not in the habit of sorting either the poems I read or the poems I write by subject matter. Some poets who treat nature as an ideological touchstone or an excuse for pseudo-mystical rambling do leave me cold, as do poets who — like many of the supposedly great English poets of the 18th century and before — rarely admit an unconventional natural image into their work, to say nothing of a named species. I agree that it’s difficult to write convincing poems about non-human subjects, having failed so many times in that regard myself. But it’s also rare that I write anything about plants or animals without at least alluding to “this monstrous world” in which we all, rural and urban alike, are complicit in. And of all the poets I admire who write with integrity about the natural world, I can’t think of any who “dismiss” the concerns of humanity, as Simic implies.

In fact, there are a lot of poets on my bookshelf who manage to write about non-human subjects without descending into “false, easy pantheism and mysticism” — and who don’t mind calling a species by its proper name on occasion. With these two guidelines in mind, I spent an enjoyable couple of hours this morning gathering a tall stack of books, and I thought it might be worthwhile if I wrote a little bit about each one, and/or found a good quote to share. Tomorrow I’ll begin a list of single-author books of poetry for nature-lovers, but first — speaking of pantheism — here are a few anthologies of poetry in which close attention to the natural world is a conspicuous feature.

1. The Honey Tree Song: Poems and Chants of the Sarawak Dayaks, by Carol Rubenstein
(Ohio University Press, 1985)

Oral poetry of an agrarian or hunting-gathering people is often replete with natural imagery, and these poems are no exception. Rubenstein is a poet as well as an anthropologist, and she did a phenomenal amount of work gathering and translating oral poetry from seven distinct societies during a three-year residency in Borneo back in the 1970s; this is a lengthy work. In the introduction, she describes in some detail the procedures she used for trying to determine the exact meanings of words and allusions when the dialect changed every five miles and she had to work with a shifting cast of translators into Malay and English.

Here are a few lines from the title poem:

The rhinoceros beetle — the heavy gurgling sound.
The cricket — the high insisting sound.
The rhinoceros beetle says this comes first,
the cricket says that should be first —
the words of the honey tree song.
The seeds that come from the land near the sea
are big as that in the beak of the little kunchih bird. …
Honey tree found by my grandfather when he was lost in the jungle,
found by my grandmother when she was hunting with a blowpipe,
found by my father when he was out walking.
Planted by a tiny short-tailed porcupine and his wife,
planted by a big long-quilled porcupine and his wife,
planted by a pheasant on the edge of the jungle,
planted by a moonrat on the edge of the hill,
planted on the edge of the junction of two rivers,
planted between two ponds.

2. I Breathe a New Song: Poems of the Eskimo, edited by Richard Lewis (Simon and Schuster, 1971)

From Dayaks to kayaks! If Rubenstein’s work is a little too scholarly, this might be a little too popular in its presentation: the lack of notes identifying the exact source for each poem in the anthropological literature bothers me. Other than that, it’s a fine selection. The poems are arranged thematically, with the cultural/geographic provenance given at the end of each. Here’s one that demonstrates a good, earthy sense of humor (I take it that “turned its back” really means, “went bottoms-up,” i.e. mooned):

Then said the blowfly:
“Because you are bellyless — perhaps
You cannot reply at all!”
The little water beetle then said:
“Devoid of belly — maybe so!
Still, you may be sure that I will answer back!”
And with a grimace
It turned its back at once
Without making any attempt to answer back.
He was a bad one for arguing.
(Netsilik)

3. Singing for Power: The Song Magic of the Papago Indians of Southern Arizona, by Ruth Murray Underhill (University of California Press, 1938)

Despite the extreme simplicity of their material culture, the Tohono O’odham, as they now prefer to be called, have an extraordinarily rich oral literature. It’s been well documented but unfortunately rather poorly translated, with a few exceptions, and this popularly written study is one of them. As in many oral cultures, the O’odham had several different levels of performative speech, at least two of which might translate as “poetry,” and Underhill includes examples of both genres, along with just enough description at the beginning of each chapter to set the stage, describing the social circumstances from which the poems arose. My only criticism is that her selections are a bit on the short side, considering the length of the sequences from which they were drawn. The reader gets the mistaken impression that the O’odham specialized in verses of haiku or tanka length, where in fact they favored linked-verse sequences capable of continuing all night.

Quail children under the bushes
Were chattering.
Our comrade Coyote heard them.
Softly he came padding up
And stood wriggling his ears
In all directions.

4. Yoruba Poetry: An Anthology of Traditional Poems, by Ulli Beier (Cambridge University Press, 1970)

This is the only book here I don’t own; I’ve only read the copy in the Penn State library, and don’t have it with me to quote from. As with the other books I’ve just listed, I can’t comment on the accuracy of the translations, only on their effectiveness in English, and in that respect they are superb. Yoruba poetry is full of concrete images, many derived from the natural world. Fortunately, some of the poems are included in a book I do own: The Penguin Book of Oral Poetry, by Ruth Finnegan — which by the way is a great anthology, flawed only by the author’s failure to include any African epics (which she mistakenly believed did not exist). Anyway, here’s one of Beier’s translations from Finnegan’s Yoruba section:

Leopard

Gentle hunter
His tail plays on the ground
While he crushes the skull.

Beautiful death
Who puts on a spotted robe
When he goes to his victim.

Playful killer
Whose loving embrace
Splits the antelope’s heart.

Continue to Part 2.

15 Comments


  1. Hmmm. Simic is one of my touchstone poets. However, I’m not sure I agree with him on this subject. In general, I like knowing the names and details of things no matter what the subject. However, I am often indulging myself when I include such details over and above what is strictly necessary in terms of specifics to drive the poem onward. Nothing wrong with that, but I realize that some readers are not going go with me into that thicket of extraneous vocabulary. Now, I would hope that most readers are not content with a generic tree, and know that there is a difference between an oak, an elm, a sycamore, an aspen, or a pine, in connotation as well as in denotation, even if they’re not sure which is which in some cases. However, I don’t expect anyone these days to know the difference between a Blackjack, Chiquipin, Burr, Pin, Post, or Shumard Oak. A generic bird would be inadequate for much the same reasons. If we are speaking of raptors, there is a significant difference to the poem if the bird in question is an owl or a hawk or an eagle. If a bird sings, it matters to the poet if not the poetaster whether it is a mockingbird, a whippoorwill, a turkeycock, or a loon.

    And now, the Larch.

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  2. I know all the dark places
    where the sun hasn’t reached yet,
    where the last cricket
    has just hushed; anthills
    where it sounds like it’s raining….

    Charles Simic does write crows and cockroaches and Great Horned Owls into his poetry. He certainly writes late night mannequins and butcher’s blocks and smeared diner menues into it too. I’ve heard him tell stories about his 3 a.m. walks around New York, and steak houses in North Dakota, and I’d happily listen to them for hours, but he’s lived in rural New Hampshire the last 30 years, and he has an eerily fine eye for detail.

    I was lucky enough to take a class with Simic at UNH two years back. He based it around the idea that nearly everyone uses too many words. He wanted people to keep to the point, and he taught me that in order to keep control of my rhythm and images, to emphasize with the placement of a word, the speed of a phrase, a pause, I had to pare down. He wanted us to use the names for things; he wanted us to be specific.

    The vagueness Chris Clark complains of up there, and the vagueness Simic complains of in nature poetry, sound to me like two chambers in the same honeycomb. Simic is is criticizing a hazy praising of general trees, not a deep, jagged grasp at one specific juniper.

    I write a lot about trees myself, and whippoorwills and water striders and green corn. He supported any of us who did. But I’ve found for myself that if I repeat the names of every ash and larch and larkspur on my road without telling any story, without giving them any place and context and feeling on the page, even I stop feeling the wonder of them.

    I don’t like the name “nature writing” much, because it suggests that the writing is limited, that talking about nature automatically makes me interesting only to backyard birders and garden enthusiasts and through hikers on the AT. I do want to talk to them. But I want to talk as much, maybe more, to the people who don’t know yet why they should care what an oriel sounds like.

    I want to wake people who aren’t awake yet. A sense of connected life or loneliness or space, a sense of wonder at the sound of bats or the brightness of an oak gall, all that is human. The only way I know to get people to feel it, when they don’t already, is to make them feel how human it is.

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  3. Dr. Omed – Yeah, the key is knowing when it’s helpful to be specific – and how specific. If I am writing a poem about a toad, I’m probably not going to say “an American toad” – unless there happens to be a Fowler’s toad in the second stanza. With oaks, I might be more inclined to give specifics: a scrub oak is obviously very different in shape and habits from a white oak, which is very different from a rock oak. But it depends on the need of the poem. I am interested in trying to figure out how to write more poems in which the species does matter. Generally they are not poems in which, for example, my own maunderings are foregrounded.

    And now, the tamarack.

    Kate – See, this is what I love about blogging. I write a post on a topic I think I know a reasonable amount about, and right away, here comes someone with a truly informed opinion! Thanks. You studied with Simic? Wow.

    He does put a lot of specifics of one sort or another into his poems; I agree. The only thing I personally object to is that he got himself into kind of a rut for quite a few books, but lately he seems to be getting out of it again. Dont get me wrong – he’s written a lot of poems I would take with me onto the proverbial desert island. I can’t tell you have many times I’ve read Dismantling the Silence. Anyway, very interesting to hear about his teaching style. I hope you’ll blog about this sometime.

    two chambers in the same honeycomb
    Good point. The thing is, it’s hard for me to relate to what exactly Simic is criticizing, because I don’t read poets I don’t like. I suppose he has had to, over the years, in various capacities (teacher, contest judge, editor).

    if I repeat the names of every ash and larch and larkspur on my road without telling any story, without giving them any place and context and feeling on the page, even I stop feeling the wonder of them.
    Yes, that is a danger. You know, when I was a kid, growing up in a family of naturalists, I fiercely resisted learning the names of birds, wildflowers and whatnot. My feeling was that we were fooling ourselves if we thought we learned anything that way, and besides, the name we happen to give somethng isn’t likely to be what it would call itself! Now I’m more of a realist, I guess. Learning the common names of things is a prerequisite for talking/writing about them, no more or less. When the names get in the way of knowledge, let them go.

    The only way I know to get people to feel it, when they don’t already, is to make them feel how human it is.
    I like thinking of non-humans as persons. I think the anthropomorphic approach is profoundly respectful; I part company with scientists in that regard. When writing about nature, I always want to find a middle ground between sentimentalizing and objectifying. And yes, of course – to reach beyond the choir.

    Welcome to WordPress, by the way! I enjoyed reading your first three posts at your new home.

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  4. It is a pleasure and a privilege to eavesdrop on your conversation here, Dave and Kate.

    To me, all good poetry is nature poetry; I’m not in the habit of sorting either the poems I read or the poems I write by subject matter. Some poets who treat nature as an ideological touchstone or an excuse for pseudo-mystical rambling do leave me cold, as do poets who — like many of the supposedly great English poets of the 18th century and before — rarely admit an unconventional natural image into their work, to say nothing of a named species.

    This may be facile, but the first thing that struck me when I read this passage, Dave, is that I might say the same about (for lack of a better term) religious poetry. Poets who treat God either as an ideological touchstone or as an excuse for pseudo-mystical rambling don’t tend to be my cup of tea, but neither do poets who seem to turn a blind eye to the presence of something enduring and ineffable in creation.

    I’m not, of course, saying that poets must be religious, or that poems must (or even necessarily should) dwell on this stuff overtly. But so much of what you say about bringing the real resonance of the natural world into the written word resonates for me on a spiritual level as well as an intellectual one.

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  5. Thanks for joining the conversation, Rachel. I have to go out now, but I’ll think about this. And maybe someone else will respond to it in the meantime.

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  6. I had a friend who worked closely with Charles Simic, who waxed ineffable when trying to explain Charles Simic.

    Part of me responded with: why? and started making a list of complaints: the primary one being what I have described in the past as a sense of oversimplified hyper-masculinity in some of his work, which I find annoying at times.

    It was clear to me, though, that the flip side of simplicity (clean, spare lines, strong images, deep and unmistakable metaphor) is a real strength of Simic’s, and that also, he is clearly an excellent teacher, which Kate echoes above – one who cares enough about the work of his students to push them constantly deeper and simpler in their language, closer to the bone.

    Reading the quote about urban landscapes vs. nature and that faux mysticism (which I also object to, often, even loving nature poems and having an entirely mysterious and awe filled relationship with nature myself, because the metaphors of these kinds of poems are often lazy), I flashed on a few vaguely remembered lines of Simic’s, and went and found them:

    Fear passes from man to man
    Unknowing,
    As one leaf passes its shudder
    To another.

    All at once the whole tree is trembling.
    And there is no sign of the wind.

    (“Fear,” from Dismantling the Silence)

    What I came to, re-considering these lines, the passage from the interview Dave excerpted, and the discussion here – Rachel’s point in particular – is that as all poets do, Simic is writing in and from a natural world, with a sense of longing, outrage, rebellion, hunger, and close observance.

    I think any review, interview, momentary discussion of a poet’s work (even their assessment of their own work) is going to encapsulate only one moment’s understanding of the work, one particular point about the work, and can then be used, without context or in a particular context, to make a point –

    Simic has specificity of language, though not by taxonomic tag. If someone pronounced that naming genus or subgenera is never appropriate in a poem, I suspect Simic would not sign on to the idea.

    I do sense a disconnect between Simic’s ethos and mine, in the language itself – about nature, about urban landscapes, about what gets romanticized and how – but am never (okay, rarely) comfortable with global statements about what a poet does, believes, or can do, because in my experience, the moment someone says that, the poet will just go and do the opposite.

    Maybe poets are just contrary.

    Anyway, a few thoughts, and food for much more here.

    Wonderful post and discussion – thanks, all.

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  7. oh man! this Simic quote really riled me,

    “”I distrust poets who have a mystical experience each time they look at a tree or a falling leaf. It just doesn’t happen. It’s a kind of fakery. I’m all for nature and all the good, wholesome thoughts it produces in human beings, but in moderation. I mean it’s harder to deal with a city and that totally fucked up world of super highways, slums, subways, and the poor bastards who have to go to work every day in that world.””

    There are weirdos in the city who have mystical experiences every time they look down a man hole cover. Some produce good writing over it, and some not. Does this make the ones who are poor writers fakers, or just poor writers? I am most definitely not a faker, but I do have a mystical experience every time I witness a falling leaf, I just don’t write about it as I am a weirdo too busy living it to improve my crappy writing skills. That makes it no less real, just not something that Simic relates to. Hence his distrust. Distrust of the unfamiliar is the first step toward blanket condemnation. I distrust distrust.

    And I also don’t buy that it is harder to live in the city.
    Living in nature cannot be separated from living rural. And the rural lifestyle is NOT wholesome; it is just as fucked up and difficult as living in the city, only in different ways. There is poverty, cruelty, ignorance, incest, and religious oppression. There is blatant, ongoing, careless environmental destruction, lack of regulation, lack of amenities of any kind, and not a single decent cup of coffee, or a lunch available that is not deep-fried. Hardworking rural stiffs suffer from lack of adequate or sophisticated mental health nets, education or cultural opportunities and protection from dangerous jobs. There is no OSHA or air quality protection and you see a lot of digit-less, limbless, asthmatic fellers down at the crossroads gas station, on their way to low paying jobs and hung over from the night before. Some of them probably have mystical experiences when looking at trees, who knows, but if they did, and they wrote bad poetry about it, I would not assume they were faking the experience.

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  8. Damn, these are solid comments, y’all! I like the way you each respond to this from your own experience in a very heartfelt way. Let me respond to just a few points.

    Rachelso much of what you say about bringing the real resonance of the natural world into the written word resonates for me on a spiritual level as well as an intellectual one.
    I think I’ve said more than once that for me the thing that makes the Tanakh my favorite religious text is the abundance of concrete, natural imagery in it. Not even Zhuangzi is as rich. That, and the fact that it is completely lacking in theology. Your word “resonance” should serve to remind us, though, that many if not most oral “texts” also abound with vivid imagery – The Ifa corpus is one very good example. Therefore I agree with scholars who suggest that many portions of the anthology we call the Tanakh/Old Testament are very close to their oral antecedants. (And note the repeated suggestion that wisdom and faith come from hearing, not from seeing.)

    A bit of a digression there; sorry! As for presence, though, yeah, I think this is an almost universal preoccupation of poets. As Simic says somewhere in another interview, we never quite get over the astounding fact that time passes.

    Theriomorpha sense of oversimplified hyper-masculinity in some of his work
    I guess I know what you mean. Simic has been heavily influenced by American blues lyrics from the 20s, 30s, and 40s (which I also love) so some of this might come from that.

    I always feel more positive toward a poet when I hear that s/he’s a good mentor – and conversely, I’ve lost respect for poets who, I’ve found out, treated their students shabbily.

    any review, interview, momentary discussion of a poet’s work (even their assessment of their own work) is going to encapsulate only one moment’s understanding of the work, one particular point about the work, and can then be used, without context or in a particular context, to make a point –
    Excellent point! Couldn’t agree more.

    And I share your discomfort with global statements about what poetry should do. It baffles me that so many good poets themselves seem to specialize in these kinds of statements. Poets are contrary – some (many?) poets are total assholes – but poetry itself can only arise from the utmost freedom of thought.

    That Yoruba poem is not an atypical example of the poems in the book, BTW. I sure wish someone would either reissue it, or come out with a new anthology.

    Cady May – Thanks very much for taking the time to share your reactions (and I’m not sure what you mean about “crappy writing skills,” but whatever). Yeah, I would venture to say that Simic hadn’t spent much time in the poorer hollows and coves of Appalachia when he said that. Probably his decades of residence in rural New Hampshire since then have taught him better. Here in the Tyrone, Pennsylvania area, heroin is rife, and an hour’s drive north of us, in one of the most rural parts of the state, is an area Newsweek magazine dubbed Meth Valley. Wholesome it ain’t.

    The fact is, though, that the majority of our population is now neither rural nor urban, but suburban. Clearly, if poets want to be authentic these days, they must write about life in the subdivisions. :)

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  9. Fascinating discussion. I’ll second the thanks for the leopard poem. It resonates for me today as I consider a friend’s recent, disturbing encounter with a cougar. For those who live in nature, all is not easy mysticism nor easy to deal with. Life lived in any setting at times involves confronting a few too many teeth and claws.

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  10. I still have my copies of Dismantling the Silence and Return to a Place lit by a Glass of Milk that I purchased during my freshman year in college–1977. The books are somewhat creased and dogeared after 30 years; I’ve lent them to other poets many times, but I always got them back. His later work does not create in me the fresh excitement I feel everytime I open one of the aformentioned books, but I’m not sure whether it’s his rut or mine.

    To call, say, Thoreau a “nature writer” is a species of litotes; to read him as a “nature writer” is a diminution . Yet, if Henry David Thoreau is not a nature writer, who is? May be it’s better to say in a particular instance, that he “writes from nature” rather paste on the label of “nature writer.”

    What Cady says, I like a good deal of that. I have fewer mystical experiences than I did before I went on medication for Manic Depression, but I still have them on occasion. The manhole covers really used to do it for me. The quality of the mystical experience is not related to the quality of the articulation of the mystical experience, and vice versa. To write about a mystical experience is a kind of subterfuge, anyway, since words quite literally fail.

    But I do think it is important to know the names, of trees, of birds, and of all natural and unnatural things, especially the things one sees everyday. I think of it almost as a sort of rudeness, not to know or inquire to know the names of the trees I walk under, just as it is rude not to know the names of the co-workers. Juan Ramon had it in a poem– “Intelligence, give me the name of things!…the exact name, and your name and theirs and mine, for things!”

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  11. Hi MB – I’m glad you’re enjoying the discussion, and that poem. Your friend is O.K., I hope?

    People want nature to be idyllic, damn it, and when it turns out not to be, blame nature rather than their own worldviews. I think our discomfort with carnivores and predation is a good measure of our estrangement from the natural world.

    Dr. Omed – Yes, those two, plus Austerities and Charon’s Cosmology — I don’t think it’s your imagination that Simic began to imitate himself after that. I think Neruda had the right idea: completely reinvent one’s voice and style every few books. Not sure the modern American poetry establishment would tolerate that, though. Consistency is so rewarded.

    My mother writes nature books, but has herself become a little uncomfortable with the “nature writer” label, especially since the genre has become so high-brow and so dominated by navel-gazers. Come to think of it, Simic’s criticism applies much more readily to contemporary nonfiction nature writers than to poets. At any rate, Mom tends to think of herself as a natural history writer or simply a naturalist-writer.

    Interesting about the manholes. To write about a mystical experience is a kind of subterfuge, anyway, since words quite literally fail.
    Good point, though as poets we come up against the incommensurability of world with language in every line we write. The mystical experience or any other state of heightened awareness is not necessarily more immune to accurate description than a more supposedly mundane experience. The secret to writing good poetry is learning to cultivate a state of continual surprise (which may or may not be what Cady May was talking about).

    Finally, I can’t believe you went for that Jimenez quote, because I actually considered including it in the post before it got too long! (Jimenez really should be much more widely known. He was simply overshadowed by Lorca in the American imagination, which seems to have room for only one great Spanish poet.)

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  12. Oh yes, thanks, and sorry I didn’t make that clear. He survived; she did not, unfortunately, but then she pushed it to the limit with him. It was a difficult experience for him. A degree of discomfort with predators is very healthy, if it keeps you alert. Discomfort with their existence, their presence in our world (which I suspect is what you meant just now), is indeed a measure of estrangement and unfortunate.

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  13. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

    I think we’d all have a much easier time cultivating awareness if we knew the woods were filled with, say, hungry saber-toothed tigers.

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  14. I am writing on behalf of a publishing company from South Africa called Shuter and Shooter Publishers, Pty (Ltd). We are preparing a new textbook titled Top Class English First Additional Language Grade 9 Learner’s Book. I’d just like to find out more information on the Yoruba poem entitled ‘Leopard’, which we’d like to include in this book, so I’d just like to contact the right people in order to gain permission rights to reproduce it. Can anyone help me in this regard?

    Thank you very much

    Babongile Zulu

    Reply

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