The poetry of Canadian modernist Earle Birney presents a relationship between humanity and the natural world that is fraught with tension, conflict and destruction. Taking nine emblematic poems into consideration, and their occasionally extensive revisions, Birney’s work on the environment emerges as more than passive, observant nature poetry, but rather, as a deeply politicized, ecological polemic that laments the destruction wrought by modern, industrial development. Furthermore, his extensive revisions of a number of the earliest poems in question often function to highlight their ecological and environmentalist ethos.
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