At the beginning of A New Geography of Poets is a quote that I find quite meaningful in light of my year of writing. The quote is as follows:
“There always was a relationship between poet and place. Placeless poetry, existing in the non-geography of ideas, is a modern invention and not a very fortunate one.” -Archibald MacLeish
This collection of poetry is organized thoughtfully and unconventionally; the compilers and editors, Charles Stetler, Edward Field, and Gerald Locklin organize the poetry in accordance with where the poets live. In the introduction, the editors explain their motivations for compiling the collection, writing, “It is not our interest to settle for mere landscape poetry but to choose poems that reveal the spirit of the place and of the poet, aiming for a balance between inner and outer geography” (xvii). This intention behind the collection aligns almost exactly with the direction of my exploration of the relationship between poetry and poet this semester. Last semester, I began to think about how to write on the topic of walls and borders, mainly in the context of social divisions. What followed was a period of more serious contemplation about the significance of place in poetry, whether real or imaginary, foreign or familiar to the poet. In particular, the idea of internal landscapes began to fascinate me as I considered how to write about the human experience. While not many of the poets openly draw a connection between inner and outer landscapes, this collection admirably highlights the connection between poet and the places about which they write, allowing unspoken parallels between human being and landscape to come into focus.