In Show Me Your Environment, a penetrating yet personable collection of critical essays, David Baker explores how a poem works, how a poet thinks, and how the art of poetry has evolved—and is still evolving as a highly diverse, spacious, and inclusive art form. The opening essays offer contemplations on the “environment” of poetry from thoughts on physical places and regions as well as the inner aesthetic environment. Next, Baker looks at the highly distinctive achievements and styles of poets ranging from George Herbert and Emily Dickinson through poets writing today. Finally, he takes joy in reading individual poems—from the canonical to the contemporary; simply and closely.
“His natural world is a thinking world, in which critical experience becomes an act of meaning, a work of art, and, through the discovered word, a finding.”
“Informed by an exuberant imagination both completely contemporary and impressively historical in its modes of exploration, [Baker’s poetry] is an extended meditation upon mortality, continuance, and the sheer variety of human existence.”
“Baker has established himself as one of our most articulate, eclectic, and probing readers of contemporary poetry.”
—Stanley Rubin, Director, Rainier Writing Workshop, Pacific Lutheran University