This week your assignment is to write about the work of John Haines. Rather than talking about Haines himself, find photos, videos, and other links that are similar to the tone and feel of Haines’s poetry. In your blog post, discuss the ways in which visual images play a role in Haines’s poetry
John Haines uses vast imagery in his poetry to place the reader into his work. He wants the reader to experience what he is what he senses and feels. He uses incredibly vivid, yet simplistic, language to get the reader involved in what he’s trying to say. In this excerpt, entitled “Lost” from The Stars, The Snow, The Fire (from our textbook), Haines is using simple language that somehow provokes emotion.
“Now and then people disappear in the far north and are never heard from again. For various reason: they are lost, drowned or frozen to death. It was common enough in early days when so many were traveling the country on foot and by water and often alone. Yet in recent memory whole planeloads of people have dropped out of sight, the fuselage with its frozen bodies found years later in a snowdrift on a remote mountainside.”
He isn’t particularly wordy, nor does he use overcomplicated sentence structuring to make his point. Haines is simplistic, natural, much like Alaska itself. “Frozen bodies found years later in a snowdrift on remote mountainside.” That one line is enough to create an environment with enormous detail. The reader can see what is happening as Haines describes it.
He doesn’t just use visual cues, Haines engages all of his senses in his descriptions. This stanza from “The Tundra”, taken from our textbook, is a perfect example of that.
“Full of blood, with a sound
like clicking hoofs,
the heavy tundra slowly
rolls over and sinks
in the darkness.”
Haines is engaging sense after sense to really put the reader in the situation with him. It’s almost as if the reader is experiencing what’s happening with Haines.