by Karla Linn Merrifield [College at Brockport alumna and former faculty member].
“I can't help it, won't help it: I hear voices. It's been happening over the past several years as I have traipsed up the backwaters & into the wilder regions of the North American continent. As I traveled, I left behind Ruskin's pathetic fallacy that had taught me to avoid imbuing the natural world with human feeling. I left behind the work of many modern poets who have used the pathetic fallacy to ironically emphasize the loss of communion between the individual & the natural world. But I stuffed into my backpack the belief that that communion could be regained & that the natural world could imbue me with its feelings. And it did.
The process for the resulting poems I wrote of such close encounters was twofold. Being a creature of Western culture & having been a student of the scientific method, I lugged my guidebooks with me & took as my departure point the identification, the naming of the beings I met in field & stream. I nailed down the Linnaean nomenclature for each beast - and then I stared (as poet William Heyen first instructed me to do).
I find that if I stare long enough, listen well enough along the unbeaten paths, the animals will speak, pleading their cause, informing the human condition. With this slim volume of poems I invite readers to hear what the carp, cod, halibut & others of their kingdom have to say. I invite my readers to commune, to be in the midst.”
-- Karla Linn Merrifield
Kanana, N.Y. : FootHills Publishing, c2004.
 p. : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Merrifield, Karla Linn, "Midst" (2004). Brockport Bookshelf. 158.