Elizabeth Willis's new collection is a stunning collision of the pastoral tradition with the politics of the post-industrial age. These poems are allusive and tough. While they celebrate the pleasures of the natural world--mutability, desire, and the flowering of things--they are compounded by a critical awareness of contemporary culture. As we traverse their associative leaps, we discover a linguistic landscape that is part garden, part wilderness, where a poem can perform its own natural history. Divided into four cantos interrupted by lyrics and errata, Meteoric Flowers mirrors the form of Erasmus Darwin's 18th-century scientific pastorals. In attending to poetry's investigative potential, Willis shifts our attention from product to process, from commodity to exchange, from inherited convention to improvisational use.
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Published March 30, 2006
Literature & Fiction.