Date of Award

10-5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

It has been my hope that this thesis would serve as a bridge between three things: my past wilderness experiences, my present explorations of great nature poets, and my future as a writer. I desired to write authentic wilderness poems that gave readers new experiences, yet I was afraid that they might not be broad enough in scope and have too much sentimentality to be effective.

To find a path through this dilemma I looked to great nature poets, both American and Canadian, as I sought to see how they were such successful writers. In looking at their work I asked many questions. Where did they get their inspiration? Did they use experiences or did they just write creatively? How did they talk about their past effectively? Did "place" play a large role in what they wrote about?

The act of writing poetry often feels like a solitary task, as if no one has ever written like you have before, but as I searched the lives of poets I found a companionship and association that was inspiring. Looking at Margaret Atwood, for instance, gave me courage to keep alive the memories of when I was a small child in British Columbia, for she herself wrote about her own childhood experiences. John Haines was another poet who contributed to my writing process. He was not someone who simply experienced nature in his childhood. He was a man who sought it out as an adult and excluded civilization from his life.

The end result of my thesis was more than I hoped for. Just by learning from great writers I was able to write boldly about my past, and I found that intertwined in my memories were people that shared those experiences with me, and they too added to the depth of my poems I call "Canadian Wild."

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