Monday, July 09, 2007

Poetics of Geography

There are poets whose work is laden with geography. I believe place is important in poetry be it a geographical location or at least a place in time. We often build around such places real or imaginary to help create the image of the moment. I often think of poetry as a picture of words rather than pixels. You can’t very well take a picture without establishing a place and or point in time.

Just a few poets that come to my mind, for whom a good portion of their work seems tied to place, are: Robert Frost, Donald Hall, Ruth Stone, Ted Kooser, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

I took a random look at some of my poetry over the past couple of years and begin to notice that there is little evidence of my Missouri roots it my work. This fact has caused me to wonder if “place” is so important in poetry, why my work is not more reflective of my Missouri roots. Certainly I have established no strong ties to the region with my writing.

Given this lack of a dominant Midwest or Missouri view in my work, I have to ask myself if it is suffering from a strong geographical point of reference. While I don’t have an immediate answer to this question I have posed, I believe it is worthy of consideration. And so I muddle with this idea and hope the internal discourse produces some resolve soon.
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