Connecting Poetry and Mining Landscapes
Landscapes are any part of the territory, whose nature is a reflectance of relationship between natural and human forces. In poetry, landscapes become these inward “inscapes”, the term used by a poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, with nature being a decorative space, where a lot of transformation takes place.
Mining landscapes are among the most significant landscape offenders because of their geomorphological and aesthetic effects. Mining excavators create fascinated forms. What makes quarries interesting is the increased contrast in shape and texture between the excavated area and the surrounding landscape. Thus they eyes move differently across mining quarries landscapes than untouched natural forms. Quarries also have dramatic anthropogenic relief with high peaks, pits and furrows.
The industrial activity generates jobs, provides mineral resources for everyday living, leaves huge “scars” and holes in the ground and is part of many discussions on sustainability. Excavated holes left after mining create their own landscapes, often very dramatic and special. Mining landscapes create specific and extreme space that involve complexity and amazement.
Many times in the past, quarries created negative associations as wounds. However, a trend shifts towards regarding mining spaces environmentally valuable and an opportunity to create sports areas, exhibition sites, scientific, educational or scenes for regional community and tourism projects. In any case, there are more positive feeling arising.
A great collection of what I consider poetic mining landscapes images can be found on the British Geological Survey website. Excavated holes left after mining create their own landscapes, often very dramatic and special. Mining landscapes create specific and extreme space that involve complexity and amazement. The very same feeling that is born again and again when reading some of the most amazing poetry classics.
Poetry of Pierre Reverdy
Pierre Reverdy was a French poet who greatly influenced the surrealist movement, however, he later was disappointed by surrealists’ irrationality and detached from the movement. Reverdy created a new form of art, and in 1918 formulated to the cubists that an image or a poetic idea is not a comparison but rather a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities. These realities can be very distant but should be truthful and related in some way. Therefore it is perfectly possible to decipher the meaning in the poetry of Pierre Reverdy, unlike in the surrealist art. The surrealists did not agree with it.
Window to the Heart, by Pierre Reverdy
Wind and Spirit, by Pierre Reverdy
“It is a surprising chimera. The head, higher than
this floor, is placed between the two iron wires
and settled comfortably; nothing moves.
The unknown head speaks and I do not understand
any word, I do not hear any sound – down
on the ground. I’m still on the opposite sidewalk
and I’m watching; I look at the words carried by
the wind; the words that he will throw further
away. The head speaks and I hear nothing, the
wind scatters everything.
O great wind, mocking or gloomy, I wished you
were dead. And I lose my hat that you took from
me too. I do not have anything; but my hate
lasts, alas longer than yourself.”
Pierre Reverdy‘s poem Wind and Spirit shows an amalgamation of human psyche with nature. In some way it relates to the image above with the wheel of digger mining machine excavator. This unknown, this hate and monster that installed itself within the landscape, as if mocking the viewer. This “shock experience” needs to be dealt with by creating art and thus perpetuate the level of evolutionary thought.
Experience of a mining space is filtered through the senses, emotions and rationality. By looking at amazing mining landscapes, one realises that this event is one where nothing happens but an interaction between the spectator and a work of art created by both nature and humans. Poetry is both verbal and visual, and when put into the right context (in this case juxtaposing to mining quarries) the result is the full immersive experience on connecting human psyche with nature.