Episode #115 The Problem Of Describing Trees - Robert Hass

12.11.2020 - By Close Talking: A Poetry Podcast

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Connor and Jack get meta and lose both the forest and the trees while dancing with Robert Hass' poem, "The Problem of Describing Trees." They discuss the poem's use of self-reflexivity, scientific language, and tango with a Yeats allusion.

More on Robert Hass here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/robert-hass

The Problem of Describing Trees
By: Robert Hass

The aspen glitters in the wind.
And that delights us.

The leaf flutters, turning,
Because that motion in the heat of summer
Protects its cells from drying out. Likewise the leaf
Of the cottonwood.

The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.

It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.

Dance with me, dancer. Oh, I will.

Aspens doing something in the wind.

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