May/June 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 3 |

Nature’s Nature

I woke, shaken from the dream. It was not quite dawn but that filtered darkness just as the first light shadows the curtains. It had been a dream of words, of many people, their voices, and my sense of a great conversation woven with musical phrases. But all I could remember, even just waking, was one phrase. It was clear. Thus runs the world away. It was uttered in closure with a shake of the head, a sorrow in the speaker’s voice, conclusive. Later that morning I remembered it again, though I misremembered the source. Macbeth, I thought, but a quick search took me instead to Hamlet. Of course it was Hamlet, in one of his rhymed quatrains; in fact, Hamlet may be recycling part of an older folksong, a bit of lore in hymnal meter, as he speaks to Horatio, in the middle of Act III, which is in the middle of the play. Why, let the stricken deer go weep,   The hart ungallèd play; For some must watch, while some must sleep:   Thus runs the world away. Alas, poor

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

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Nature’s Nature

By David Baker

I woke, shaken from the dream. It was not quite dawn but that filtered darkness just as the first light shadows the curtains. It had been a dream of words, […]

Four Poses

By David Baker

I woke, shaken from the dream. It was not quite dawn but that filtered darkness just as the first light shadows the curtains. It had been a dream of words, […]

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May/June 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 3 |

Nature’s (Human) Nature

It’s July 30, 2017, as I start taking notes for the present introduction to “Nature’s (Human) Nature.” It is December 1, 2017, when I finish. Four months. During this time, with more than 350 thousand births each day, according to the US Census Bureau, and about half as many deaths, we have added twenty-eight million human beings, give or take, to our gasping planet. That’s about eighty-four million people in the past year. By another count we have added, in the one year since our last “Nature’s Nature” feature, between seventy-five million and eighty-five million more of us. In fact, I have compared many sources—from the World Bank to Wikipedia, the US Census Bureau to the United Nations—and while no statistic is quite the same as another, the ballpark average is sufficient for my purposes here. Let’s add another fact. The United Nations reports that more than 55 percent of the current human global population now lives in urban areas. Once upon a time we em

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

Read More

Nature’s Nature

By David Baker

It’s July 30, 2017, as I start taking notes for the present introduction to “Nature’s (Human) Nature.” It is December 1, 2017, when I finish. Four months. During this time, […]

Four Poses

By David Baker

It’s July 30, 2017, as I start taking notes for the present introduction to “Nature’s (Human) Nature.” It is December 1, 2017, when I finish. Four months. During this time, […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.