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Nature and the Poet

Nature is a source of inspiration for the poet, an nature is used for its imagery, for its symbolic meaning, and for its role as a powerful force in human life. Nature was elevated to a high position by the Romantic poets, but poets before that time. Several women poets show a particular affinity for nature, tending to delve into it as an example of fertility, a connection with the infinite, a symbol of human sexuality, and so on. This can be seen in the poetry of H.D., Elizabeth Bishop, and Emily Dickinson.

Readers of the poetry of Emily Dickinson have had several different images of the poet in mind, with perhaps the primary one being the "New England Nun," a version of her life which sees her as a heroic virgin who lived behind the walls of her father's house and renounced the world in order to nurture in sorrow the higher and purer love of someone who was absent forever. Much of this image is a myth, but the power of her poetry to convey emotions and a special sense of love and loss is not. Much of her poetry involves images of nature, images that are strongly sensual and concrete. Much of the myth of Emily Dickinson centers on the fact that she lived most of her life in one house, and the concept of home is central in her work and is also embodied with her ideas of love, love for family, love for nature, love for life. Dickinson's image of home is turned into an image of herself--her home is her world, and she has a perception of the architecture of the home that is akin to her perception of the architecture of the body. The home and the elements that make up the home, including its garrets, chambers, rooms, corridors, doorways, and windows, project the form of the poet's mind and bring the reader closer to Dickinson's evolving sense of "place," as person and poet. Other images as well objectify her inner life, including all of her major concerns--self, family, love, loneliness, madness, renunciation, nature, God, de...

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Nature and the Poet. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:05, December 06, 2021, from