The Wildness in Poetry

A Poetry Mixtape Edited by David Ly

David's Liner Notes

In “The Wildness in Poetry” I have curated a selection of poems that I feel showcase how poetry can use nature and animals as a means of exploring identity, fears, joys, and curiosity. By rooting a poem in one or more aspect(s) of nature, these poets each uniquely exemplify the versatility of animal-themed poetry in speaking to the nuances of human existence.

I turn to the natural world for the boundless possibilities of metaphors and allegories that the imagery can offer. Oftentimes, when writing about heavy topics that we as humans experience, I find it helpful to encapsulate these experiences through the usage of non-human things. In a way, “writing wildly” creates a distance between us and our fears, apprehensions, and musings, making meditations on sometimes difficult feelings easier.

Within these poems, I tried to collect an array of not only images, but tones and moods as well as an attempt to help you see how different animals (and plants) can be plucked from their natural habitat and used as stand-ins for human experiences. We have the quiet intimacy of picking up a dandelion to meditate on longing; connection is also explored in an unexpected way in “The Parable of the Eagle”; and we even dive into the fantastical as Phyllis Webb recounts the days of the Unicorn.

Each of these poems, along with the recommended reading of others, uniquely positions the wilderness in the text that can be surprising in its manner of exploration of human anxieties as well. For example, though Lorna Corzier’s narrator speaks on their fear of snakes, there is also beauty in it, reminding us that though our fears may be crippling at times, there is something valuable in taking a moment to sit with them no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

I invite you then to explore these wild poems, and hopefully in turn, come closer to the wildness that exists in you; something to be held dearly and close as you write your own poems.

The Poems

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