Originally posted on June 1, 2015
Image: Robyn Boyd, author of the poem “Floating Bog” in Whole Terrain’s Metamorphosis volume
We are continuing our series profiling the authors and artists featured in our latest volume, Metamorphosis. Learn more about the Metamorphosis volume here. Click this link to order this and previous volumes.
by Cherice Bock
Editor, Whole Terrain
Robin Boyd’s poem, “Floating Bog,” graced the pages of our Metamorphosis volume with twenty years of reflective canoeing on the same New Hampshire bog. She shares lyrically of the flora and fauna, and the shifting ecotone that defines the bog’s edges from year to year. Boyd brings the serene setting to life through her words. She notices the changes in the bog, but she does not make a judgment about the meaning of those changes, leaving that up to the reader. The balanced lines and the shape of the poem on the page enhance the experience, guiding the reader peacefully along gently undulating waves of words so that we live her experience and care about the continued existence of this marshy pond, befriending the animals from afar, resting in the luxuriance of sun, water, and mud, paddle and canoe, birdsong and scents of life.
We wanted to hear more about Robin Boyd’s work, the experiences that led to this poem, and how she sees herself as an environmental practitioner.
Whole Terrain: How does your work as a poet and a grant writer connect to Whole Terrain’s emphasis on reflective environmental practice?
Robin Boyd: I hold degrees in creative writing and environmental education. Consequently, much of my writing is a result of environmental reflection — where people fit in the grand scheme on this planet and our positive and negative impacts. I run a foundation that makes grants to low-income New Hampshire residents with disabilities, so my work is also concerned with social justice, a significant part of the larger environmental picture.
WT: What drew you to the theme of metamorphosis?
RB: I observe that everything is in flux, everything is becoming. Even the smallest observations are about change. A bird comes to the feeder, drops a sunflower seed that, months later, flowers to produce more seed. The autumn wind causes acorns to drop to the ground. The deer gather and feed on them as winter wears on. I wake in the night to watch them. The moon is full. The world is illuminated. And I am a changed person.
WT: What inspired the particular poem you submitted?
RB: I often kayak at a pond in Marlborough, NH, called Meeting House Pond. I’ve paddled there for years. One of my favorite routes is around the floating bog. As each year passes, the bog expands while the passage narrows. I’ve been watching this evolution for 20 years.
WT: What do you see as your contribution to the environmental movement, or how do you see your work affecting the way people view the rest of the natural world?
RB: I want my poetry to offer a point of view that speaks to the intrinsic value of all creation. I see myself as one small part of a much larger and more powerful system of life. If humans could see themselves as just one of many forms of life in the vast cosmos, perhaps we wouldn’t be as arrogant and grasping and destructive. I love being a small component of something greater. I hope my work reminds the reader of the value of this perspective. I also live on a small land trust created around ethical environmental principles and practice, and is also a Permaculture demonstration site. We live in small energy-efficient, passive solar houses built from local materials. We produce solar electricity and hot water and grow as much food as this climate allows.
WT: If you could share one piece of advice to those submitting pieces to Whole Terrain in the future, what would it be?
RB: Be prepared to wait a while. Don’t be afraid to check in. Editors are kind and responsive. If your work is selected for publication, be delighted. It is a beautiful, vibrant journal with a point of view.
Bio: Robin Boyd lives in New Hampshire. She holds a BA in creative writing from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and a master’s degree in environmental education from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University. She works as a freelance writer and as a grants administrator for a small New Hampshire-based foundation. Her book of poems, Among the Slow Roots, was published in 2007 by Gap Mountain Press. Her work has also appeared in various journals and anthologies, including her poem “Shaconage,” recently published in Heron Tree.