I encourage my Environment and Literature students to dwell in the process of making their own poems. It is an existential act, like planting a tree. I tell students that I can learn to dwell in language and on the earth through an engaged reading of another writer’s creation just like I can enjoy the presence of a tree I did not plant. There is something existentially rewarding, though, about picking up my own shovel, getting my hands dirty, and seeing a tree in the earth for the first time, to echo Merwin.
To echo ecopoets, writing a poem is a process of echolocation, of finding one’s (dis)orientation on the earth. Good or bad, part of the work of poetry is this act of dwelling in language and on the earth. I have undergone the process for nearly two decades–the aim not necessarily publication, but rather to undergo the practice, the discipline, of dwelling.
The following links lead to pdfs of a handful of poems (I got weary trying to preserve the look of the poems in WordPress’s interface).