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Abstract

This essay offers a commentary on the four poems of Dr. Eville Gorham that accompany his memoir, “Reflecting on Life in a Deteriorating World: How Chance Made Me an Environmental Activist,” published elsewhere in this journal. Gorham’s poems are read here not only as complementing his development as a scientist but also for their literary merit as intriguing applications of a scientific perspective to nature poetry, one of the great traditions of the American and English lyric. His poems are associated here with the spare, imagistic mode of 20th-century modernism, particularly as defined by Ezra Pound and his followers, but also with the skeptical philosophical mode associated with such modernists as Wallace Stevens.

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