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Unread 07-24-2018, 10:49 AM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 5,566

The best-crafted and most emotionally affecting nature poems I've read in the past few years are in two collections published by Alex Pepple's Able Muse Press:

All the Wasted Beauty of the World by Richard Newman

Greed: A Confession by D.R. Goodman

Neither book presents a traditionally romantic, pastoral view of nature. Newman often explores reassertions of the natural world within areas of urban decay (usually in or near St. Louis, MO); Goodman often explores the interface between development and wildlands (Oakland, CA, and elsewhere).

I'm aware that these approaches to nature are probably not to everyone's taste, but I find both inspiring. Here are one poem from each book:

Richard Newman, "Alley Possum"

Fellow urbanite, how could your race
survive—convinced I can't see you this close,
hunched next to our back porch, your grinning face
hidden behind a bag of Ranch Doritos.
In our next-door neighbor's headlights, your eyes shine
Heineken green, and you keep eating, heedless.
You forage in the cracks of our lives and dine
on our debris, jaws crammed with infected needles.
By day you play dead in a dumpster—poke
you with a stick, and your whole being explodes.
Primordially stupid, tireless joke,
you waddle down the shoulders of our roads,
loot gardens, lie in our bed of impatiens,
finding the hidden gaps in our foundations.

D.R. Goodman, "Owls in the City Hills"

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 07-24-2018 at 10:53 AM.
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Unread 07-24-2018, 12:49 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 7,735

I'm glad for the reminder from Julie about Goodman's book, which is excellent and does focus a lot on nature.

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Unread 07-25-2018, 12:37 PM
Edward Zuk's Avatar
Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Surrey, Canada
Posts: 641

Many thanks for the recommendations, Julie. That was exactly what I was looking for. The Goodman, in particular, looks superb.

I've been able to get hold of a copy of Derek Walcott's White Egrets, whose title series of poems is superb, and Wendell Berry's New & Collected Sabbath Poems. I hope others will profit as much as I have from all the suggestions here.
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Unread 07-25-2018, 09:49 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 3,567

Hi Edward,

Let me also recommend Derek Walcott's Omeros, his reimagining of the Iliad in Saint Lucia. It's tremendous.

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