In responding to Robert Hass this week, we have two pieces that we’d like you to consider.
The first is a response to a question about the role of “landscape” in his poems. We were intrigued by the underlined selection below. Hass responded:
When I was starting to write, I was taken by various regional writers–Faulkner on Mississippi, Dostoevsky as a poet of St. Petersburg, Lowell and New England, and, to a lesser extent, the California poets, Jeffers and Rexroth. I had also begun to be concerned about what was happening to the natural and cultural environment of California in the economic boom of those years. The writing of Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry interested me a lot, then, because they were thinking about how to write about the issues involved, and they were doing it. I liked writing about my place. It gave me a subject; also I have always been very interested in natural history, and I had the idea, in my early work, that the sheer variety of the gene pool needed to be invoked and celebrated, if it was going to be saved, etc. But I found that I wasn’t really interested in or good at advocacy types of writing. It just wasn’t where my subject matter was. So the thought I had went something like this: if I live in my place and live my life and write about my subjects, whatever they turned out to be–love, grief, the nature of things, the nature of our nature, the riddles of existence–and drew on the materials of my place as the idiom of that expression, then that would be the kind of environmental writing I’d do. And that’s roughly how the northern California landscape functions in my work, I think. Though lately I have had thoughts of turning back to it more directly, if I could figure out how.
The second piece that we’d like you to consider is the poem Happiness by Hass. Once again, we added the poem to PoetryGenius. Please read and annotate the poem here.
For week seven of the #WALKMYWORLD project we’d like you to think about how Hass documents his world through poetry. This week, please continue to document your world and share it with us on Twitter.
Please write and share some poetry with your image/video/audio as you document your world.
Document an emotion, thought, or expression from your world and share it with others in the #WALKMYWORLD project.
Image CC by Slate