Saturday, November 03, 2007

Manufactured Landscapes

Okay, so we haven't even begun to deal with innovation, let's go that route...

The tone of this post is skewed by a recent viewing of Manufactured Landscapes, the film made of Edward Burtynsky's awe-inspiring work tracing the economies of oil and manufacturing. I have long been a fan of Burtynsky's work--since those early shots of the rail lines in British Columbia. But more and more I am inspired by the power of what he achieves with his photographs. The work, it seems to me, has as much potential to change people's thinking as Gore's Inconvenient Truth (or Napoleon Dynamite...).

All of this makes me wonder, yet again, how we can still be thinking about a poetry that yearns for a sweeter time? That speaks of birds and mountains. How does nature writing, or nature poetry help us see the world in a new way? What tools to see? To cope? What understanding of ourselves in relation to it? What to save? How to engage? I want to see a poetry that like Burtynsky's work, shows us the implications of the most minute, seemingly benign gesture. A poetry that is connective. A poetry that reaches toward itself, without naming everything. What use is metaphor one wonders, in times like these.

Of course, not to be dire, not only dire. But to face up and imagine beyond. To imagine a way beyond this, perhaps, if not through it. Set a course. Show us the where next. Either that, or I'm going back to Napoleon...

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