Wanderers on the Way Into the Neighborhood of Being
Katherine Larson’s Poetry of Life-forms
The article discusses Katherine Larson’s first collection of poems, Radial Symmetry (2013), as a work that interrogates the relation between poetics and knowledge of life-forms. First, it provides the background for reading Larson’s poetry in the context of aesthetics as a domain in which literary and philosophical discourse overlap, and then it situates Larson’s work more specifically within philosophical the discourse of “nature” framed, on the one hand, by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s pluralistic, non-representational view of language in Nature and, on the other, by Martin Heidegger’s reflections on Being, language and beings in “The Question Concerning Technology”. Finally, the essay delivers a close reading of some of Larson’s
poems in order to exemplify the difference they make in engaging “nature,” “life,” and “Being” by means of language: whether by taking care of those entities, or by reducing them to “standing reserve.” Larson’s poems provide an apt focus for a wider discussion about the viability of poetry as a means
to approach the morphological diversity of life right at the time of its human-driven sixth mass extinction.
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