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