Friday Poem – ‘Karner Blue’ by Carrie Etter

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Karner Blue’ by Carrie Etter which appears in 100 Poems to Save the Earth and her collection The Weather in Normal.

100 Poems to Save the Earth. Edited by Zoë Brigley and Kristian Evans

Our climate is on the brink of catastrophic change. 100 Poems to Save the Earth invites us to fine-tune our senses, to listen to the world around us, pay attention to what we have been missing. The defining crisis of our time is revealed to be fundamentally a crisis of perception. For too long, the earth has been exploited. With its incisive Foreword, this landmark anthology is a call to action to fight the threat facing the only planet we have. 

These achingly beautiful poems… remind us how to refind ourselves amid the landscape we call home.”  – Sonya Huber

The Weather in Normal Carrie Etter "Etter's richly inventive phrasing keeps this compelling range of concerns vividly opening up with immediacy, urgency and sensitivity." - Cole Swensen

Carrie Etter is known for beautifully expressive and formally inventive verse. The Weather in Normal, her fourth collection, explores the changes to her hometown of Normal, Illinois following her parents’ deaths, the sale of the family home, and the effects of climate change on Illinois’ landscape and lives.

”It’s well-nigh impossible to convey with quotation how Etter’s use of language, form, restraint and space combine to such impressive effect.” – Stride magazine

Carrie Etter
“a place called Karner, where in some pine barrens, on lupines,
a little blue butterfly I have described and named ought to be out.”
Vladimir Nabokov
Because it used to be more populous in Illinois.
Because its wingspan is an inch.
Because it requires blue lupine.
Because to become blue, it has to ingest the leaves of a blue plant.
Because its scientific name, Lycaeides melissa samuelis, is mellifluous.
Because the female is not only blue but blue and orange and silver
and black.
Because its beauty galvanizes collectors.
Because Nabokov named it.
Because its collection is criminal.
Because it lives in black oak savannahs and pine barrens.
Because it once produced landlocked seas.
Because it has declined ninety per cent in fifteen years.
Because it is.

100 Poems to Save the Earth
 is available on the Seren website: £12.99

The Weather in Normal is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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