I wrote the majority of this essay Forest For the Trees; Navigating a Space for Landscape Poetry in Canada in July but the inspiration came to fruition over a handful of months. In interviews and comments shared via social media, I became aware of a persistent tension surrounding the subject of landscape poetry. Some poets face it with scorn and consider it a dead form of expression. But none of these declarations have kept me from being deeply affected by landscape poetry, whether it’s written by a favourite author or shared in a journal launch for Hamilton’s own Tower Poetry Society. In this paper I walk loose circles around CanLit’s past glory as well as the Hamilton landscape itself. Interspersed along the way is a one-sided review of Tower Poetry Society’s summer issue, which I recommend checking out here. (Special thanks to Janet Turpin Myers for inviting me to the launch!)
Word of warning: said circles are extremely loose. This essay originally dived into an even bigger pool, discussing how by fragmenting poetry into forms (concrete, avant-garde, landscape, etc.), we may’ve designed an easy method of identification but we’ve also enabled prejudices that malign one style (and its practitioners) in favour of others. Completely out of my league, I know. With these paragraphs cut, the title loses its intended meaning but oh well. Always trust your editors! It’s my hope to follow this social temperature-read with a hearty, critical examination in the future.