the ungatherable

Peter Larkin
Coronation Spinney
ecopoetics 1, p 74
audio here

There is an initial resistance to reading something that I don’t immediately understand. I don’t want to stay with it. There are a lot of other things to read that I do understand.

Persistence. I grasp that it is British and that makes me want to stay with it.

I look up Peter Larkin on Google and find some more reading material. I start to relate to the poem more by knowing something about the poet.

Does the poet matter to the poem? Traditional investigation would say No, ecopoetic investigation would say Yes. I always want to know something about the poet.

I attended a seminar on this topic years ago at the 92nd Street Y (April Bernard?). To be more accurate, I attended half a seminar. I think it was the first poetry event I attended in New York City and I got seriously lost and was more than an hour late. I don’t think I understood what the TriBoro bridge was. I think the main conclusion of the seminar was that the poet shouldn’t matter, the poem should stand alone. I was off on the wrong foot immediately.

So now I know more about Peter Larkin and his concerns. Landscape. Horizontal/Vertical. Scarcity. I listened to him read the poem aloud. There is a careful, measured rhythm in these paragraphs. There is agriculture of some kind and a forest. The language seems descriptive, but it isn’t, really. I’m left with a sense of vague disturbance and worry, but no definite information.

The last line seems to imply something about the search for meaning in this poem:

To grow sustenance about scarcity’s lane of offering unhampered by outspread: the spurn in fruition quietens the gatherable.

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