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Scaling in Nature Poetry

This is the final installment of a three-part series on nature and poetry by guest Daniel Roessler. If you'd like the opportunity to be a guest on this blog, send your ideas (and a little about yourself) to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com.

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This is the final post in our three-part series on how to freshen up our nature poems. In the first post, we discussed how the changing role of nature in our lives and world could bring a fresh perspective to our poetry. Next, we talked about paralleling nature themes with other components such as human, social, and urban topics.

Today, we discuss how scaling in nature poems can make them distinct.

Macro vs. Micro Level

When we view the world, we can do so on a macro or micro level and our choice greatly influences what we see. We will use trees as our example to illustrate the power of scaling. If we write a poem about trees, there are many options.

We can write about all trees everywhere in general terms at an extremely macro level, a certain forest, a specific type of tree, an individual tree, or an exact branch on a given tree at the most micro level. Selecting one of these resolutions shapes our poem's voice and any of them can be appropriate depending on our poems context.

Scaling is a powerful tool and by varying our choices, we can make our nature poetry distinct. For example, the opening line of our poem might be, “A forest of trees waved hello to me.” Alternately, the flavor of the poem changes if we start it, “The mighty oak greeted me with open arms.” And again, even more specific, “The crooked branch just off my porch welcomed me by caressing my face.”

All of these are somewhat similar opening lines but also invoke considerably different images for us. The more precise we get, the more unique our poem tends to become. However, the micro approach isn’t always the best choice because we can get so specific and personalized that it takes away from our readers’ ability to relate to our poem.

Use Scaling to Freshen Perspective

When we feel that our nature poems are becoming stale or unoriginal, using a micro or macro approach is a great tool to help freshen them up. Another effective method is to use scaling within a given poem. We can begin at a micro level and expand it to a macro level as the poem proceeds, or alternately, start at a macro level and shrink it to a micro level within a given piece.

Our poem might begin with us spotting a rose garden from a distance that looks like a fallen rainbow. By the end of our poem, maybe we hone in on a single red rose bud about to blossom into splendor.

Ultimately, nature has been and will continue to be one of the most beloved topics in poetry. There are many ways to introduce unique elements into our nature poems and we have only examined a few in this series.

So keep writing and when you are stuck, try some of the techniques we have discussed to freshen up your nature poems.

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Daniel Roessler

Daniel Roessler

Daniel Roessler is an author and poet who recently placed 4th in our Writers Digest SIJO competition with “Drowning” and 5th in our Triversen competition with “The Eulogy”. He is also the author of one non-fiction book, seeking representation for his recently completed novel, and has two poetry chapbooks in progress. For more information on Daniel, visit his website at www.danielroessler.com.

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