April is National Poetry Month and the month that brings us Earth Day, so what better time to read nature poetry? Poetry has always drawn its tropes and metaphors from the living world, from the cycle of the seasons to the character traits of animals to the powers of the sun, the moon, and the fathomless oceans.
Among today’s nature poets, Mary Oliver presides, and you can’t go wrong with Red Bird or her brand-new collection, Evidence. Pattiann Rogers is another highly accessible and mind-expanding poet of the living world, a writer with a scientific bent. Start with Song of the World Becoming, and move on to Wayfare. Turn to former poet laureate Robert Hass, in Time and Materials, for a bracing view of humankind’s relationship with the rest of nature. And for sheer pleasure veiling crucial insights, do not miss the glimmering beauty of Diane Ackerman’s poetry. Try I Praise My Destroyer.