Catherine Cuellar. 'Guide', Dallas Morning News,
page 36. Friday, November 8, 1996.]
'Finding inspiration in suburbia'
The suburban landscape of east Richardson might stifle some people's creativity, but internationally acclaimed poet Frederick Turner thinks it's a natural place to do his work. His forthcoming volume of poems, Hadean Eclogues, connects his current habitat with the fertile grounds of Arcadia, where ancient Greek poets found their inspiration.
"I'm looking at all the particular landscapes where poets find what they are trying to say. The Lake poets, the romantic poets of England, found the Lake District to be their landscape, and I guess I've taken this hardscrabble, sort of half-destroyed landscape of North Texas to be my Lake District, to cherish this peculiar kind of wilderness."
Mr. Turner, who is Founders Professor of arts and humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, will formally premiere poems from Hadean Eclogues at a reading Tuesday.
He has published 17 books and expects Hadean Eclogues to be published next year by Story Line Press. Mr. Turner has spent eight of his 11 years at UTD "putting the poetry together for this book," he says. Its themes help explain his attraction to this region.
"I see nature as a process, and I see human beings as part of the process. So [Richardson is] a natural landscape in much the same way as I suppose the present landscape of Mount St. Helens is. It's half-devastated and half a process of amazing, emerging life."
It's been a focus of his work since he was called to interview at UTD while working on the island of Crete.
"I was in the middle of writing an epic poem about the transformation of Mars into a habitable planet for human beings," he says. "So I came down from this ancient landscape and got on a plane and flew to London and then flew to Dallas. And then Dallas immediately struck me as like the Mars that I was imagining, that might have once had life on it and that now has new life that human beings are making come alive."