"Steady and abiding, with animal, vegetable and mineral adroitness." — Norma Cole
These poems contain neither ‘art’ (fine painting, opera, colored glass) nor ‘nature’ (organic material subject to decomposition lacking proximity to civic infrastructure) without the qualifying filter of the experiential: memory and language. Drawn from writing spread over several years, Art & Nature investigates the artificiality of generative processes while striving to replicate a natural speech, what Marianne Moore called “plain American which cats and dogs can read.” Known for poems on the war against Iraq and the rollback of liberal or progressive achievements in the U.S. — Bouchard has, since The Filaments (2006), made a conscious effort to move away from immediate political themes. These political concerns do not disappear but are subsumed in the poems and removed from the foreground of Bouchard's new work.Excerpt ˇ
So to start again better grounded
for having run a lap. A truck rolls
to the potholed ramp
emptied of cargo.
The music trails off
on some soft serenade
cut by a downshift moan.
A song of burns and hurts, surging
in muscle, its unconquerable spirit
making bodies move so, feeling good
like nothing else, unvanquished
in its newness and intensity.
- 04.16.15 | Art & Nature by Daniel Bouchard reviewed in SCOUT
- 03.04.15 | Daniel Bouchard's Art and Nature reviewed in Colorado Review
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Heart us, my selfies, for we are entering an unimaginably (Imagine!) lush country. Steady and abiding, in growth and decay, with animal, vegetable and mineral adroitness, Bouchard’s perception lives and loves in Art & Nature. “I see them before me and connect them immediately with my existence.” [Kant]—Norma Cole
Daniel Bouchard's poems ask to be sounded out, to be lived in and lived through, as much an experience in language as an experience in the world with its "rank air suffused with imagination / and the indelible texture of memory." I marvel at how such a small book is so populated: children, highways, birds, seasons, ghosts of dead poets. The centerpiece, "Poem Ending with Clotbur," provided the most pleasure I've had in the company of a poem in quite some time for its sonic and taxonomic intensity — a field guide in overdrive. After reading Art & Nature my own sense of the world around us — and the language we use to actualize it — feels vivified, renewed.—Joseph Massey