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othered categories of people have begun to upset the prevailing, white, colonial conception of us (human) vs. them (nature). Indeed, many of the poems in both Black Nature and Queer Nature eviscerate any distinction between subject (us, human) and object (them, nature), bringing humans and our associated habitats, detritus, desires, foibles, and messes squarely on the same page, stanza or line as the clouds-gathering, leaveschanging, grass-waving, ocean-churning, actions of the natural worlds that formerly surrounded us with their othered-ness.

And while Black Nature is, rightly, focused on black voices, Queer Nature offers a biodiversity of intersections with interesting results. Placing so many voices from so many periods into this monolithic text creates a queerly disruptive effect, but I wonder if Walsh has thought through what it means to place a white, affluent, academic poet like Richie Hoffman sideby-side with Langston Hughes. This seems to hint at one of the more obvious blindspots of certain segments of white queerdom: chiefly a lack of regard for intersections of race and class.

Digging into this conversation between these two poets is instructive. Where each poem is seemingly focused on the breath — Hoffman’s speaker’s open mouth imitating Cicada sounds and Hughes’ speaker breathing fire— there is a disjointedness between the poems that recurs throughout the volume. Hoffman’s poem, Idyll, evokes an almost pleasant struggle with self and transformation, as eerie as the image of a young person sloughing off skin like a molting insect is: the point is that the poem is cozy, comfortable, endowed with a rich feeling of something like hygge despite its clearly uncomfortable subject. Hoffman’s speaker: “When the wind grazes// it’s way toward something colder,/ you too will be changed. One life abrades// another, rough cloth, expostulation.” Hughes’ speaker: “Where is this light/ your eyes see forever?/

And what is this wind/ You touch when you run?” Hoffman’s academic lilt feels impotent in conversation with the firebreathing exclamations of Hughes’ Demand in which the speaker of Hughes’ poem transcends comfort to shout into the void: what is this life and where is taking me? This is not to say that these poems have nothing to say to each other (there is an unmistakable elegance to the feelings evoked by the wind moving through each, across a century) but it is to say that perhaps here is a lost opportunity for deeper conversation that prioritizes race and class.

If queering nature is dependent upon the language we circulate and celebrate, then I wonder why Queer Nature often feels so disinterested in selection? The pages are full of the bright, new flowers of American queer ecowriting, from Hoffman, to newcomer Ally Ang, to Charles Jensen, to Chen Chen and Eduardo Corral, alongside perennial favorites like Audre Lorde and Carl Phillips, Mary Oliver, Frank O’Hara, Elizabeth Bishop and Walt Whitman. The effect is sort of like an untended garden, with weeds, wildflowers, herbs, native shrubs, and heirloom tomatoes sown in a haphazard fashion that can make it a bit overwhelming to wade through . A closer look at the table of contents confirms this: the poems are simply ordered alphabetically by author’s surname. I’m not certain that this a major fault of Queer Nature, but I wonder if there wasn’t a missed opportunity here to organize this show into a suite of rooms (or the garden into intertwining yet distinct beds) as collections often do. But perhaps this is Walsh’s point: that this garden of poems needs to be something untended and like the “wild” (a problematic term in its colonial nature, as Walsh points out). My own understanding of queer ecopoetics is that it embraces the messiness of life, of the varieties of beauty that can exist in the landfill, the ocean, the gutter, and the meadow, all at once. And

70 POETRY WALES

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