On May 31, I will give a talk called “The Size of Our Strangeness: The Power Dynamic of the Poet in the Landscape” at the Annual Conference on Creative Writing at Pacific, hosted by the University of the Pacific.
Here’s the blurb:
The Size of Our Strangeness: The Power Dynamics of the Poet in the Landscape
Proposition: the idea of “nature” as a “muse” just has to go. We will dismiss the image of “nature” as a buxom young woman lolling in the grass while feeding the poet fruit. Together, through a combination of lecture, poem examples (from Dickinson, Plath, Stevens, and more), and writing exercises, we will explore how else we might construct the relationship between the poet and the natural world. We will try using Eliot’s “objective correlative,” then learn about writing as what Dorothy M. Nielson calls an “ecological subject,” which “defines itself as biologically interdependent.” From here, we will discover that writing as an ecological subject is impossible. Still, we will try it. Our goal will be to manipulate images of the natural world without manipulating the denizens of the natural world themselves, without falsely shrinking them to fit the page, but instead respecting the size of their strangeness, and the size of the distance between us.