Writing with the seasons 1 Comment

Writing with the seasons

Reading for the “Nourish” issue, the poetry peeps at Edcomm were really surprised to note how many poems we read mentioned moths. We had all sorts of Lepidoptera, some  in passing, some in depth. It became clear to us that these winged creatures were proliferating many of the submissions.

We started to wonder about the rotation of different animals in poems, whether there are images that go hand in hand with the seasons, and whether traditionally we write with the seasons. To me it seems like logically drawing on your experiences and surroundings you are bound to be influenced by weather and seasons, and they will make their way into your work.  Some months ago I came across a bunch of giant moth husks (or honestly I didn’t know what they were) at my family farm and deciding that I really needed to somehow include them in whatever I was writing at the time. I am wondering whether, for a poem to evoke (an accurate) feeling in a reader, whether you need to choose imagery/metaphor/similies that are consistent with the season.

Because Voiceworks is a quarterly publication and we do publish with the seasons, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that there tends to be a fairly strong seasonal vibe with the work that we publish.

I guess poetry and nature tend to go hand in hand. Haikus traditionally feature one line that anchors them to a season. Because haiku was one of the first types of poetry I really connected with, the simplicity of this form has really stayed with me. When you’re writing a poem you’re really just trying to convey and draw the reader into an experience, and using seasons seems to be an effective way of doing this.

Maybe because of the way we depend on weather for our mood, and the things we notice about the world are influenced by the weather and this is all reflected in our writing. More broadly, I feel like this extends to all of the art that we gravitate towards: it seems like in summer I am more inclined to jangly or light-hearted music, books and tv shows, while in winter I am more fond of darker, heavier things (incidentally this extends towards the things I eat). I feel weird thinking about this, like I am more of a slave to the seasons than I realised.

Still, this doesn’t really explain what the deal is with all the moths. Maybe moths seem less twee than butterflies. Maybe they are the more complex cousin of butterflies. Maybe because they can spin silk, somehow a very magical image. Or of course the transformation from caterpillar/worm to butterfly/moth and the chrysalis stage is pretty amazing.

In related enchanting news from the insect world, did ya’ll hear about those cicadas who stay underground as larvae for 17 years, then are above ground for several weeks?

I suppose it is this which is so intriguing about our lepidoptera friends as well: the ruthlessness of their life span. A metamorphosis, something so different from human experience but intriguing in its own way.




Susie Anderson (23) writes to keep hands busy and her mind happy. She is an online marketing intern for Regional Arts Victoria, an arts officer at RMIT Link Arts and a regular festival lackey. Her poem-esque things can be found on the internet in a few anthologies, in Voiceworks, zines and on her tumblr. When not attempting to put words together in a devastating way, she concentrates on not biting her nails, listens to podcasts, looks for pictures of whales, dances, pouts.

  • http://www.metremaids.com Amber

    I think poetry is definitely the medium where animals are used as metaphoric vessels. There’s something innately naked about using animals. Animals are essence, they just are and I think poetry feeds really well off that kind of power. It speaks directly to the heart. Great article, Susie! I always super enjoy reading your writings. x

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