Staff Picks: The Poetry of Nature

By Pollyanna Durbin

It can be said that only in nature may we understand the infinite, and poetry is, perhaps, the map with which we can decipher this greatest of mysteries. Its beauty begets the simplicity of our existence and in its melodic wordplay, we can find truth.

I have long considered wildness a necessity and have been fortunate enough to indulge in exploring the written word under many different skies around the world.

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, grew up in the vast plains of Ohio, and it was here that her reverence for nature began. When she moved to New England, she set the majority of her work against the backdrop of the wooded, lake-studded acres that surrounded her home.

"Whoever you are", she wrote, "the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things."

Nature connected her to those she loved, and to a silence so tender, it imparted on her the most gracious of affirmations, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

mary-oliver

This cabin is near where Oliver wrote the majority of her work. Flanked by pine trees and with ocean views, it is the perfect place to pay homage to this mindful poet.

Federico García Lorca

It was among the shadows of the cypress trees in his hometown of Granada that Federico García Lorca sat and started to gift the world his incurable love poems. Woven into a time of political unrest, Lorca found solace in the moonlight and the large spaces of his home. A great explicator of duende, the idea that all art should be imbued with authentic self-expression and soul, he reworked myths into his own private narration.

In nature, he experienced profound isolation, and from that isolation came a tencious courage. Soon, the sun baked meadows that he had traversed as a young boy—with arms outstretched among the poppies and fireflies—became a place of war and suffering. Nature has its own language in Andalucia, and Lorca was its greatest translator.

Lorca

Unravel with Lorca in this cabin and relish the splendor of this region where "the landscape sidled on the pivot of a larger arc, into the green of evening."

Virginia Woolf

It was in Bloomsbury, central London, that the acclaimed writer Virginia Woolf strode into the world. A genre-defining, experimental artist, in the truest sense of the word. Along with her unique "set" of fellow thinkers, they deconstructed societal conventions and paved the way for a new literary epoch, one in which women did not have to be defined by their male counterparts.

Woolf once described herself as “a porous vessel afloat on a sensation," and it was among the generous meadow flowers and colorful country gardens of Sussex on the south coast of England where these sensations became some of the most enduring works of the early 20th century.

Virginia

Though it is unlikely that Virginia herself would have ever had the opportunity to stay in a yurt, this authentic accommodation boasts the same dreamy views that she would have delighted in.

Henry David Thoreau

It is impossible to discuss nature without examining the back catalog of Henry David Thoreau. Often considered the father of environmentalism, Thoreau’s transcendental work speaks directly to the modern condition of restlessness. A gardener, both literally and metaphorically, his ideas germinated in his need for a more spiritual existence.

His most famous work "Walden, Life in the Woods" espouses a profound rhythm of life lived in the wild, away from the boundaries and expectations of urban living. He wrote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” To Thoreau, reality only existed within the spiritual world that nature encompassed, and as a transcendentalist, he was attached to a deliberate and ethical way of living—a model which many of us follow today.

Thoreau

Experience a different way of living for the night on this houseboat, not far from the ponds that inspired Thoreau's iconic work.

Emily Bronte

It is hard to separate the internal and external landscape of Emily Bronte. Her writing is as stark and weather-beaten as the moors of her homeland. Nature plays a pivotal role within the characters she interweaves into her novels and poems. The scenery she explores is imposing, dramatic and eternal.

From the impossibly soft wildflowers on the side of brook-beds to the bloated shadows of clouds making their exodus across hillsides, a visit to God's own country is a humble one. You only have to look out at the rolling panoramas to envisage Emily—monastic and alone, reactive to the very seasons that we so often ignore.

Bronte

This country retreat is the perfect place to explore the vast crags and "the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving the alms of the sun."


If any of these writers have inspired you to immerse yourself in nature, grab a book, visit Glamping Hub, and let a little wildness in.