To be a poet one needs the six P’s – the pencil, the paper, the perception, the passion, the persistence and the unshakable persuasion that the poem is in fact possible and attainable. - Grace Perry

Sunday, July 1, 2012

By the Estuary

Jonathan Bate writes that “[a] Romantic poem may be regarded as a model of a certain kind of being and of dwelling… the poem itself is an image of ecological wholeness which may grant to the attentive and receptive reader a sense of being-at-home-in-the-world” (2000, p109). In this sense Mark Miller’s poetry could be described as post-Romantic or a reconfiguration of Romanticism. Within his poetry Miller describes the natural world in such a way that the people who are featured in his poems are embedded in their surroundings. An example of this is his poem ‘By the Estuary’, a poem in four parts, where Miller paints images of the activity of one day, from morning till night: “Making the most of the failing light, / a flurry of gulls / scatters like flecks of silver / late children shriek and dive / from the pier into the herringed tide, / down into the lathing currents / before scurring home / with the salt-tang still on their skin /…” (2010). Within this poem the birds, a dead seadragon, moored fishing boats, swimming children and fruit bats are all described in such a way that they all, the human and nonhuman elements, appear natural and ingrained into that place. The majority of Miller’s poetry displays this ‘ecological wholeness’ that Bate discusses, exploring the majesty of life, both human and nonhuman, along the Shoalhaven River. As Mark Miller stated in an interview, “[a] lot of my poems are about place, and although they… don’t have that overtly environmental, or conservation message to them, it’s there inherently or implied through the impact of the environment on me and on my sensibilities” (2012, pers. comm. 1 June). This comment by Miller demonstrates his mission to create a sense of ‘dwelling’ within his poetry, where the reader may take away lessons of preservation through an experience of the majesty of nature, as Miller views it. 

You can buy Mark Miller's Conversing with Stones at

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