Contrasting Poets Lawrence and Shapiro in Their Views of Nature

Julie Gibson

Throughout the history of literature, poetic views of nature has evolved
through time. One of the most differing eras is the twentieth century. With it\'s
non-classical views, the twentieth century is one of the most influential eras.
While the Victorian era practiced traditional values, the twentieth century
influences techniques of love and the loss of the beauty in nature. Poets of the
same century have multiple views, many differing. Two major twentieth century
poets are D.H. Lawrence and Karl Shapiro. D.H. Lawrence loves and is in touch
with nature, while Karl Shapiro cares more of war and satires of government, not
giving much thought to nature. Even though both poets share and differ in views,
both are twentieth century poets.
The twentieth century lasted from 1900-1939. It began at the dawn of the
new century and in England, is set by the death of Queen Victoria. Reading
attracted a large audience because of the tremendous growth in education
opportunities (Granner, 616). One major downfall and factor of the twentieth
century was World War I. This was had pulled up new roots that were "buried in
the past," causing multiple conflicts between nations (Granner, 611). The war
reflects the bitterness and troubles put on twentieth century poetry. The poets
wrote of science fiction, anti-war protagonists, and ridicule of authority.
Leading poets in the twentieth century are D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Joseph
Conrad, Dylan Thomas, and H.G. Wells.
D.H. Lawrence views on nature are more humanistic, rather than natural.
He loves individuality and "inner self" (Magill, 1686). His writing were pure
because of his adolescent puritan environment (Becker, 5). D.H. Lawrence,
although in the twentieth century, is a die-hard romantic (Albright, 1). To
Lawrence, nature was an item of beauty and creativity. He respects nature. In
Lawrence\'s poem, "The Sea," he humanizes the sea. He states that the sea is
"celebate and single," referring to a person. He treats this part of nature as
if it is a real person. He does his with great passion showing his love for
nature. He goes further stating, "Sea only you are free, sophisticated." Here
again one views the humanistic views upon nature. Nature to Lawrence is an
individual, trying to survive in this world of chaos. He refers to the sea as
being a perfect individual. Throughout this poem, Lawrence constantly refers to
nature as humanistic, much unlike most twentieth century poetry. He has the
passion and love that most poets of that century do not.
Karl Shapiro is another leading poet amongst the twentieth century.
Shapiro was in World War II and, much like Ernest Hemingway, wrote primarily of
war. His poems of war "disclose the ugliness of wartime world that has replaced
the merely tawdry cheapness of prewar America. But, the naturally increased
bitterness resulting from the war may conceal a change not only in what the poet
sees, but in the perspective from which he sees it well" (Magill, 1680). The
only human greatness in his poetry is a greatness forced from the heart of human
darkness. Shapiro has "studied peace as if the world was flat" and "faltered at
each brilliant entity - drawn like a prize from a magician\'s hat (Magill, 2542).
He was more interested in social meaning rather than nature (Stepanchev, 485).
He bean writing on the philosophy that "everything we are taught is false"
(Spears, 487). "Karl Shapiro\'s poems are fresh and young and rash and live:
their hard clear outlines, their flat bold colours create a world like that of a
knowing and skilful neo-primitive painting, without any of the confusion or
profoundity of atmosphere, aerial perspectives, but notable vision and satiric
force" (Randall, 485). In one of Shapiro\'s lesser known poems, "Phenomenon," he
illustrates the illusion of war to nature. He states that the evening was
"saturated with the obscurity of night." He depicts the wonder and mystery of
night. While Lawrence humanized nature, Shapiro is expressing his confusion and
wonder of nature. Shapiro neither likes or hates nature, he has no point of
view. He believes that it is mysterious. He goes further nd states that the sun
was "an irritated rim." He is very melancholy and sure of nature affect of
people. He speaks as if it is more harmful than helpful. It, again, is compared
to something that is not a major factor is his life. He writes this poem as if
nature is just a pigment of life. Karl Shapiro was, indeed, a twentieth century
poet. He did not see the beauty of nature that D.H.