What is more natural: thinking space and poetry

Red Visual

Blue is the more difficult color,
made of mineral blood and fades fast.
The right hue is hard to settle, of blue.
Fragments shift and delineate, light
roams shards, coalesce to fold of cloth.
As hand to light turns blue and red
is nowhere in sight. What unreliable color,
medium carries flowering in.

Unfeminine giant wheels unfold flowering in.
Metal powders as water slopes. Fire pops en
route to opacity: how often returns! Often
indiscernible one from the other. Shards fan
to circle—a hand of acuity. Cyclical tasks
are the ones that grind. Figuring, bills,
numbers, figuring. Halos burn.

Tendons, fascia, calcium accumulation
relay to tangle of cables. Wood item
and extinguishing agent. Where is tree?
Tree sputters and quickens heat, but water
weightier and in weight truer. Fixed
and in a pattern, helix clings to octagon.
Triangle stands itself.

Water vs. fire and water verisimilitude
blue is the more difficult color. When
mineral blood bonds carbon to oxide ring,
helix and upward sky.

–Marcella Durand

For the entire interview see Harriet.
SQ: Marcella, thanks for the poem, and for taking a few questions. Let’s start with what you consider eco-criticism, or eco-poetics to be?

MD: It’s debatable to me whether the term “eco-poetics” should be a defining term at all. It’s convenient and catchy, but poetry concerned with ecological issues needs to be flexible enough to accommodate the stream of information and rethinking and renaming that is ongoing around ecology, culture, science at the moment. Ecologically minded poetry may be more interesting, more investigative when there isn’t so much a predetermined manifesto, when it is not congealed into a sort of school with dictums to follow and practitioners. I realize this is rather hypocritical of me to say, since I did lay out a kind of schematics back in 2002 (“The Ecology of Poetry”), but I did from the start intend those to be possibilities only. I also meant that talk to be an alternative to the nature poetry I had been steeped in, but I didn’t want it to replace as the next de rigueur mode or whatever. Actually, the more I dig and think and research, the more all poetry seems like it could be read ecologically, as so much of writing deals with relations between self and other, re-engineering language subject, perception and exterior, where we fit into larger systems, landscape, history, culture—where and how we inhabit and how we negotiate with others inhabiting the same spaces.

SQ: Do you think that poetry can be part of a reactive matrix dealing with our perceptions and relationship to environmental social and cultural issues around climate change?

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