National Poetry Month: Writing Wild

Welcome to day 3 of Writing Wild, my National Poetry Month project for 2021. Today’s featured author is Gene Stratton-Porter, an Indiana native and author of novels and nature studies, poetry and essays. Kathryn Aalto describes Stratton-Porter as a “a fascinating figure at the nexus of early twentieth century changes in conservation and gender roles…[a] maverick.” (p. 40) Her best-known book, A Girl of the Limberlost, published in 1909, sounds vaguely familiar to me, but I know I never read it.

I was more intrigued by Stratton-Porter’s nature studies, many of which are available online. Maybe because I don’t know a lot about them, I was drawn to Moths of the Limberlost (1912). Because I could print pages from this book, I decided to create a blackout poem today. I’ve never tried this form, and finding the right page to work with was like searching for the moths themselves! I finally just picked two pages at random. And although my drawing skills are woefully inadequate, I had fun creating today’s poem.

The Yellow Emperor

moths
prefer the hickory.
Fresh leaves,
outdoors.

They moult,
growing stronger.

Transform.
Eat.
Travel.
Burrow.

Then colour greenish brown.

They shone,
burst,
and escaped
those skins.

In spring delight
emerge,

A carnival
from the Limberlost:

Winged creatures of the night.

Draft, © 2021, Catherine Flynn

Photo of Eacles Imperiales, by Gene Straton-Porter in Moths of the Limberlost

Previous Writing Wild posts:

Day 1: Dorothy Wordsworth
Day 2: Susan Fenimore Cooper

29 thoughts on “National Poetry Month: Writing Wild

  1. I think found poems can be so challenging, but you certainly pulled it off here! ” A carnival/from the Limberlost” catches my fancy and your ending line is perfect. I’m really loving your project!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You made the found poem “real”, Catherine, rather an ode to these beautiful creatures. I like “A carnival
    from the Limberlost:” especially!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I am so with Molly. I love this project. You make me want to try it. Your “art” is fine quite effective for this kind of graphic!! I like that you could print the pages. I also am impressed that you created a poem using the found poem “method” (ie black out or erasure style maybe?)by keeping it in order. Much of the time I like to have the option of shifting the words I have selected around a bit, but keeping them in order is so much more a challenge to get a poem that stands on its own. Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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