Teacher Garth Greenwell's New Poetry Column: To a Green Thought
January 8, 2009
“To a Green Thought is something more than a typical poetry review,” Andrew Ciotola, West Branch Managing Editor and Book Review Editor said. "Garth had been writing reviews for us for several years, and our admiration for his insight and discernment increased with every assignment.
"We wanted to set him free from the narrow confines of the usual review format and give him complete liberty to choose his subject and approach. In the new column, our injunction to him is simply to write about the subject of poetry in whatever way he sees fit. No strings attached. We are mighty pleased with the result.
“‘To a green thought in a green shade’ is a well known line from Andrew Marvell's 1681 poem The Garden. We chose it not only for the obvious play on Garth's name, but also for its hint at Garth's wide knowledge of English poetry and poetics.
"Marvell uses the garden motif, at least in part, to explore humanity's place in the natural order. In one way or another, all poetry seems to come back to this theme. Marvell's poem is a fitting touchstone for a column that takes the long view of Poetry, with a capital P.”
Founded in 1977 and published at Bucknell University’s Stadler Center for Poetry, West Branch has earned a reputation for excellence and integrity in its semiannual offering of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews. Respected by readers and writers alike for its high literary standards and truly broad aesthetic, West Branch takes pride in its openness to a wide range of literary styles and in its genuine commitment to pairing new voices with more established ones.
“It's an honor to write for West Branch, which I think is one of the finest literary journals in the country,” Garth remarked, “and I'm already excitedly planning next year's article. I'm also proud to serve as a contributing editor for the journal.
You can read Garth’s most recent column, Beauty’s Canker: On Jorie Graham, online or in print at the library.