Mark Strand, National Poet Laureate, talks about his work

6 thoughts on “Mark Strand, National Poet Laureate, talks about his work

  1. A great interview thanks in large part to the interviewers skill and deep reading. It is lovely that Strand is such a willing and almost humble participant.

  2. Whenever the speaker moves, the air responds to this by going where he no longer exists. The air is described as such to have a pathetic fallacy, and seems to have been appointed a pastoral sort of duty, existing in the space where the narrator has left and navigated themselves away from.

    This poem is special in this way, where the narrator is exhibiting a self-determination worth commenting on, where his power is the ability to exist in another place away from his initial location but would not be possible without the help of the environment. The repetition of field and air assures that the speaker finds these elements valuable, and respects them but it is the narrator who possesses the knowledge that he must persist for his own benefit.

    A literal perspective of this poem is that he is describing himself as walking, which can be seen as mundane at first glance. But when we attribute our own knowledge of the weather elements to the poem it can get even more interesting. For example this type of description would not exist in a gale or at the end of a bender down at the local pub. The speaker is obviously describing his connection with a peaceful environment where he identifies his behaviour as reverent whether or not his surroundings deserve this respect, it is left non-clarified.

    The narrator is commenting that he has been able to experience harmony within his surroundings and through the progression of time which in its nature is similar to a Gwen Harwood poem in the sense that their stated role within the landscape is to merely experience the stimulus, but in this poems’ case the narrator believes to have reached a more resolute and clearly-stated positive outcome.

    A more comprehensive appreciation of this poem could be possible with the study of the history of pathetic fallacy technique and its application to art and literature.

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