We have reached 2008 and the ecological and environmental issues pressing upon us are more prevalent than ever. Don’t worry, this is not going to be another lecture about recycling and using your car less (although I do suggest that both of these things are good to do), it is simply a fact: man (and woman) are in conflict with nature. This is nothing new, of course. Throughout the history of mankind we have lived in both harmony with nature and also shown it a serious disrespect.
Towards the end of last year, Bloodaxe published an anthology of poems called Earth Shattering, a collection of work tackling not only the evident contemporary issues such as global warming, extinction of species and the felling of rainforests but also a retrospective look at ecological poems: from the wilderness poetry of ancient China to postcolonial and feminist perspectives, all addressing environmental destruction and ecological balance. The collection features a wide-variety of poets, from Blake, Wordsworth, Keats and Hardy to Plath, Levertov, Constantine and Zephaniah. It is a diverse collection, exposing the ways in which the very structure of our living earth is being torn apart and the detrimental position of a modern world that is increasingly cutting itself off from nature.
Each day next week we will bring you one poem from the collection, showing that although poems may be small and seemingly inconsequential, their power and force will have an effect on every reader. If your resolve is stirred, you’re adding your voice to a collective call for change – and that’s a good way to start the year.
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Posted by Jen Tomkins