In an introduction to their collection of ‘environmental’ poetry, the Poetry Foundation claimed that while Romantic poets often wrote about “beautiful rural landscapes as a source of joy, [and so] made nature poetry a popular poetic genre … contemporary poets tend to write about nature more broadly than their predecessors, focusing more on the negative effects of human activity on the planet.” That struck me as a bit odd because although the scope for contemporary poets may well be wider and there is undoubtedly much to be negative about when we witness our environmental crises, a good many poets continue to find joy there, and without necessarily going all ‘Romantic’ on it.
It’s been a real pleasure working with Cambridgeshire-based poet Clare Crossman recently, and the work continues. I redesigned her website (which brought me lots of her poems to read and enjoy), and I’m now developing a site for her new Waterlight project, exploring her local river Mel through both natural and human lenses. And Clare has just posted Naturalist at ClimateCultures, the second half of her illustrated cycle of twelve poems. There’s plenty of joy there, along with well-aimed comment on our environmental predicaments!