JUNE 6, 2019

My 3 Favorite Poets

Among the many stacks of my poetry books, I find that I continue to go back to a few writers the most often. In many ways, these three poets have much in common. They all seek to describe humans’ relationship with the natural world, but each of them represent very distinct, rich, and recognizable voices.

Mary Oliver

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Mary Oliver has been an amazing poetic voice of the natural world for many decades. She is both prolific – a wide variety of titles to choose from – and very accessible to readers of all levels of interest. What really draws me to her poetry is her careful and very often celebrative observations of the natural world. Oliver is able to celebrate both the specific and the spiritual, giving her readers many life lessons learned out in the field along the way.

W.S. Merwin

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W.S. Merwin is very much considered something of an eco-poet. He has also been very prolific throughout his career and therefore we have a considerable variety of books to choose from. Where Oliver’s nature poetry tends to begin with specific descriptions of the natural world and then make a claim for the spiritual self in connection, Merwin very often stays inside the voice of the spiritual, becoming a kind of mystical observer of natural phenomenon.

Gary Snyder

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Gary Snyder has been a distinct voice of nature poetry for a long time as well. Although much of his poetry relies on the spirituality of eastern thought, his poems tend to be the most ‘real’ in how they are written. Snyder is what we could very much call a ‘here and now’ poet, taking us along with him on his many explored trails in the mountains. His lines become kind of immediate descriptions unadorned by flowery metaphor.

Want to learn more about these and other inspiring poets? We set out to learn from Mary Oliver in our Mary Oliver & the Art of Observation in Nature course and we touch on others in our various poetry classes. You can learn all about these in our Writing Courses page.

Who are your favorite poets? Share them with us in the comments!