The Environment and Poetry

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The Environment and Poetry
Poetry has a vital role in the world and needs to be given a chance in these modern times. Poetry gives a person a voice and allows the reader to see things through the eyes of another. This is why poetry is important. This power of poetry is particularly evident in environmental poetry.

Environmental poetry emphasises the power of nature on humanity and the unfading presence of the environment. This omnipotence of nature has been reflected in a vast number of poems, ranging from those of the idealistic Romantic period through to modern poetry. While the personal context of one environmental poet may differ vastly from that of another, nature can still have the same powerful effect on the human spirit regardless of when and where they lived.

This notion is reflected in the comparison of such poems as ‘God’s Grandeur’ by Gerard Hopkins and ‘Homo Suburbiensis’ by Bruce Dawe. Personal context of each of these poets is vastly different which in turn greatly effects the perspective from which they write yet both acknowledge the same power that nature has on the human spirit. Hopkins was born in 1844 to an upper-middle class family. He grew up in England and was well educated, attending Highgate School and Balliol College, Oxford where he studied Classics. Dawe, on the other hand was born in 1930 to a working class family. He attended nine schools before leaving at age 16, not completing his Leaving Certificate.

Gerard Hopkins wrote ‘God’s Grandeur’ during the late 19th Century at the rise of the Industrial Revolution. The world he knew was at an end. Many people were showing no regard for the natural environment, refusing to acknowledge its supremacy. Even from its seemingly moribund state Hopkins was still left in awe of the power of nature. Bruce Dawe wrote ‘Homo Suburbiensis’ in 1997. He lived in a suburban world where it would seem the natural environment was all but non-existent yet natures brilliance still shone for him....
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