Chapter 1 introduction 1 Background of the Study



Download 38.48 Kb.
Date conversion03.05.2017
Size38.48 Kb.
CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Nowadays, literature about nature is not common in schools. Many of literary works represent natural world, such as poems, songs, and prose. In this research I analyze five poems that related to natural world. I use five poems by Mary Oliver, which are Wild Geese, Sleeping in the Forest,The Hummingbird, The Summer Day, and Cold. Based on Kumin (2010) “Poet Mary Oliver is an American poet who is an indefatigable guide to natural world” (p.1). Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College, but did not receive a degree from either institution. As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers. Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work. Known for its clear and poignant observations and evocative use of the natural world, Oliver’s poetry is firmly rooted in place and the Romantic nature tradition. Her work received early critical attention; American Primitive (1983), her fifth book, won the Pulitzer Prize. According to Bruce Bennet in the New York Times Book Review, American Primitive, “insists on the primacy of the physical.” Bennet commended Oliver’s “distinctive voice and vision” and asserted that the “collection contains a number of powerful, substantial works.” Holly Prado of the Los Angeles Times Book Review also applauded Oliver’s original voice, writing that American Primitive “touches a vitality in the familiar that invests it with a fresh intensity.”



Dream Work (1986) continues Oliver’s search to “understand both the wonder and pain of nature” according to Prado in a later review for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Ostriker considered Oliver “among the few American poets who can describe and transmit ecstasy, while retaining a practical awareness of the world as one of predators and prey.” For Ostriker, Dream Work is ultimately a volume in which Oliver moves “from the natural world and its desires, the ‘heaven of appetite’...into the world of historical and personal suffering...She confronts as well, steadily,” Ostriker continued, “what she cannot change.”

The transition from engaging the natural world to engaging more personal realms is also evident in New and Selected Poems (1992), which won the National Book Award. The volume contains poems from eight of Oliver’s previous volumes as well as previously unpublished, newer work. Susan Salter Reynolds, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, noticed that Oliver’s earliest poems are almost always oriented towards nature, but seldom examine the self and are almost never personal. In contrast, Oliver appears constantly in later works. But as Reynolds noted “this self-consciousness is a rich and graceful addition.” Just as the contributor for Publishers Weekly called particular attention to the pervasive tone of amazement with regard to things seen in Oliver’s work, Reynolds found Oliver’s writings to have a “Blake-eyed revelatory quality.” Oliver summed up her desire for amazement in her poem “When Death Comes” from New and Selected Poems: “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. / I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

Oliver continues her celebration of the natural world in later collections, including Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999), Why I Wake Early (2004), New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (2004), and Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (2010). Critics have compared Oliver to other great American lyric poets and celebrators of nature, including Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Muir, and Walt Whitman. “Oliver’s poetry,” wrote Poetry contributor Richard Tillinghast in a review of White Pine (1994) “floats above and around the schools and controversies of contemporary American poetry. Her familiarity with the natural world has an uncomplicated, nineteenth-century feeling.”

According to Dayton (2004) “A prolific writer of both poetry and prose, Oliver publishes a new collection every year or two. Her main themes continue to be the intersection between the human and the natural world, as well as the limits of human consciousness and language in articulating such a meeting. Jeanette McNew in Contemporary Literature described “Oliver’s visionary goal,” as “constructing a subjectivity that does not depend on separation from a world of objects. Instead, she respectfully confers subjecthood on nature, thereby modeling a kind of identity that does not depend on opposition for definition…At its most intense, her poetry aims to peer beneath the constructions of culture and reason that burden us with an alienated consciousness to celebrate the primitive, mystical visions that reveal ‘a mossy darkness – / a dream that would never breathe air / and was hinged to your wildest joy / like a shadow.’”

Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio. She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College, but did not receive a degree from either institution. As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers. Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work. Known for its clear and poignant observations and evocative use of the natural world, Oliver’s poetry is firmly rooted in place and the Romantic nature tradition. Her work received early critical attention; American Primitive (1983), her fifth book, won the Pulitzer Prize. According to Bruce Bennet in the New York Times Book Review, American Primitive, “insists on the primacy of the physical.” Bennet commended Oliver’s “distinctive voice and vision” and asserted that the “collection contains a number of powerful, substantial works.” Holly Prado of the Los Angeles Times Book Review also applauded Oliver’s original voice, writing that American Primitive “touches a vitality in the familiar that invests it with a fresh intensity.”



Dream Work (1986) continues Oliver’s search to “understand both the wonder and pain of nature” according to Prado in a later review for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Ostriker considered Oliver “among the few American poets who can describe and transmit ecstasy, while retaining a practical awareness of the world as one of predators and prey.” For Ostriker, Dream Work is ultimately a volume in which Oliver moves “from the natural world and its desires, the ‘heaven of appetite’...into the world of historical and personal suffering...She confronts as well, steadily,” Ostriker continued, “what she cannot change.”

The transition from engaging the natural world to engaging more personal realms is also evident in New and Selected Poems (1992), which won the National Book Award. The volume contains poems from eight of Oliver’s previous volumes as well as previously unpublished, newer work. Susan Salter Reynolds, in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, noticed that Oliver’s earliest poems are almost always oriented towards nature, but seldom examine the self and are almost never personal. In contrast, Oliver appears constantly in later works. But as Reynolds noted “this self-consciousness is a rich and graceful addition.” Just as the contributor for Publishers Weekly called particular attention to the pervasive tone of amazement with regard to things seen in Oliver’s work, Reynolds found Oliver’s writings to have a “Blake-eyed revelatory quality.” Oliver summed up her desire for amazement in her poem “When Death Comes” from New and Selected Poems: “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. / I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”

Oliver continues her celebration of the natural world in later collections, including Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999), Why I Wake Early (2004), New and Selected Poems, Volume 2 (2004), and Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (2010). Critics have compared Oliver to other great American lyric poets and celebrators of nature, including Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John Muir, and Walt Whitman. “Oliver’s poetry,” wrote Poetry contributor Richard Tillinghast in a review of White Pine (1994) “floats above and around the schools and controversies of contemporary American poetry. Her familiarity with the natural world has an uncomplicated, nineteenth-century feeling.”

A prolific writer of both poetry and prose, Oliver publishes a new collection every year or two. Her main themes continue to be the intersection between the human and the natural world, as well as the limits of human consciousness and language in articulating such a meeting. Jeanette McNew in Contemporary Literature described “Oliver’s visionary goal,” as “constructing a subjectivity that does not depend on separation from a world of objects. Instead, she respectfully confers subjecthood on nature, thereby modeling a kind of identity that does not depend on opposition for definition…At its most intense, her poetry aims to peer beneath the constructions of culture and reason that burden us with an alienated consciousness to celebrate the primitive, mystical visions that reveal ‘a mossy darkness – / a dream that would never breathe air / and was hinged to your wildest joy / like a shadow.’”

Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Oliver was born in Maple Heights, Ohio in 1935. Her father, Edward William Oliver, was a teacher; he and her mother (Helen M. V. Oliver) raised their daughter to have a strong connection with her environment. Oliver remembers the town: "It was pastoral, it was nice, it was an extended family."

“When Oliver did publish her poetry, it was with the collection American Primitive, in 1983. The years had paid off-her first published text won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize. Although she was new to the general public, Oliver had spent many years writing in the academic world. In 1972, she was the chair of the writing department of the Fine Arts Workshop in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A decade later, she was awarded the Mather Visiting Professorship at Case Western Reserve University. By the time she started publishing, Oliver had also already won two fellowships, a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship (1972-1973) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1980-1981).

1

2



“Like many of her contemporaries, Oliver led a very solitary life as a writer. But that didn't bother her: "I decided very early that I wanted to write," she says. "But I didn't think of it as a career. I didn't even think of it as a profession.... It was the most exciting thing, the most powerful thing, the most wonderful thing to do with my life. And I didn't question if I should, I just kept sharpening the pencils!"

“Oliver's second collection, House of Light, won 1990's Christopher Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award; her third, New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award. New and Selected Poems contains writing from over three decades of work. Her book-length poem, The Leaf and the Cloud, was divided into two sections to be published in the 1999 and the 2000 Best American Poetry.” (p.1)

3

D.S. Martin (2009) states “Mary Oliver’s poetry is a place which to dwell a field, a river, a shoreline that wraps its arms around wild things, and preserves precious moments that appear as the seasons shift. It is about attention and patience, just as love is about attention and patience and about quietly stepping away from our own four walls. It is about memory, and reflecting upon what can only be experienced when we respectfully wait for birds and other creatures to take their turns watching us. It is about praise, thanksgiving, and astonishment. It is, surprisingly, not about the poet other than that she is the one who has experienced what she is showing us. Since Mary Oliver’s poetry is filled with observations of creation, with praise and questions, it is an ideal place to dwell to meditate and to consider what our lives should be”. (p.1)



Glotfelty (1996) states “Ecocriticism is the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment. Ecocriticism takes an earth-center approach to literary studies”. (p.19). The reason why I choose the poems by Mary Oliver because the poems encourage others to think seriously about the relationship of humans to nature, to get central idea that nature can help a person gain a greater understanding of life.

4


    1. Problem Formulation

The following problem formulation are :

  1. How do the poems represent nature through the dictions, figurative language, imagery, theme and tone?

  2. How is the relationship of human being and nature expressed in the poems?



    1. Scope and Limitation of the Problem

Scope of this research is the poems by Mary Oliver. I focus on the poems only and the limitation is the representation of nature through the dictions, theme, figurative language, imagery and point of view using ecocriticism theory.



    1. Goals and Function of the Research

The goals of this research are to find out and express interconnections between nature and humankind through the poems. The functions of this research is to give others to think seriously about the relationship of humans to nature. So that readers could get benefit by knowing how nature affect the relationship between nature and humankind.

5


    1. Previous Study

Before my research is made, there are several previous study that related to my topic which is Ecocriticism. First, the title is Reduced Ecologies: Science Fiction and the Meanings of Biological Scarcity more by Ursula Heise. The research is about Science fiction novels from the 1970s to the present have set their plots on planets with limited or no biodiversity so as to explore to what extent environmental conditions shape human cultures and codes of ethics, and to what extent humans themselves shape these conditions. Presenting scenarios of biological scarcity, they recast central questions of environmental ethics in the context of a largely synthetic nature. At their most complex, they portray more-than-human democracies in which nonhumans are humans’ interlocutors rather than merely their resources. The Publication Date is Aug 21, 2012. (Academia.edu ,2012,p.1)

Second the title of study is Becoming Earth: Earthly Pleasure as Spiritual Pleasure in la Vie de sainte Marie l’Égyptiennemore by Monica Antoinette Ehrlich. The thesis is about Earthly and spiritual pleasure are often described as binary opposites with one being inimical to the attainment of the other, yet during her hermitage, Marie l’Égyptienne transforms her spiritual self by changing her relationship to her environment. The paper will examine how Marie’s evolving environmental ethics problematize this binary, giving us new insight into contemporary ecological attitudes inspired by exegetical readings of Genesis. The publication date: July 3, 2013. (Academia.edu ,2013, p.1).

6

1.6 Research Methodology


      1. Research Design

























7

1.6.2 Method of the Research



I use library research ,also I utilize the intrinsic and extrinsic approaches. First, I try to discover the problems of my topic which is Ecocriticism in Poetry. In this research, of course there are problem formulation. The following problem formulation are : 1. How do the poems represent nature through the dictions, figurative language, imagery, theme and tone? 2. How is the relationship of human being and nature expressed in the poems? And then I try to gaining more information from the internet about the poems and the poems itself, after that I analyze each poems by Mary Oliver through intrinsic elements such as the dictions, Imagery, figurative language, theme and tone. Second, I have to find out the theory of Ecocriticism and the other data to supported my analysis. Then, I analyze each poems by using intrinsic elements I have to find out how each poems is presented toward nature and related to Ecocriticism theory and also find out the interconnection between human being and nature in the poems by using the extrinsic elements which tell about aspects out of the poetry itself, also I relate the analysis of the poems with the literature.

After analyze all of the elements which is required, I try to answering the problem formulation and the last, I try to making conclusion of my research and making suggestion as well in order to give some advice to the others to think seriously about the existence of nature in the world, to know how nature expressed in literature and to know the relationship between human being and environmental world.


The database is protected by copyright ©ininet.org 2016
send message

    Main page