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.