Fish & Wild Life ( New Women'S Voices #140 ) - Paperback

Fish & Wild Life ( New Women'S Voices #140 )

Knittel, Janna

Fish & Wild Life is a collection of poems about the environment. Nature poetry is often maligned but these poems are not merely sentimental about nature. There is sentiment. How can we not be sentimental about that which is disappearing? But the poems describe a more complicated relationship with nature, one laced with fear and awe, even violence, in the effort to convey a wide range of experiences with the nonhuman world. The book is divided into three sections--Feathers, Fins, and Fur--focusing on birds, fish, and mammals respectively. Some poems speak from the point of view of a human observer or participant in the natural world, such as "Skiing at Dusk," which details someone's fear of the dark. Others speak from the point of view of birds, fish, and mammals themselves, such as "Avant-Garde," as a raven attempts to communicate with--and collaborate with--a human hunter. Because it is impossible to truly know what a bird or fish or mammal experiences, the poems that investigate the inner workings of non-human minds often come to sound like poems about poetry itself, such as when, in "Kingfisher," the bird is described as waiting patiently before striking its prey, or in the obstacles that the speaker of "Salmon Run" faces when swimming upstream in order to create a new generation of salmon. While the collection is not overtly political, the title is meant to echo the name of the well-known government agency because the collection game together in the early days of the Trump administration, when another government agency, the EPA, was put under a gag rule. At this time of climate change denial and shrinking public lands, poems about the natural world have become inherently political.


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