A.R. Ammons: Poems

Change and Continuity: A Comparitive Analysis of Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey" and Ammons' "Corsons Inlet"

Writing in 1818, Samuel Taylor Coleridge characterises romantic landscape poetry as “the mediatress between, and reconciler of nature and man”. This description holds true for William Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey, an eighteenth century prospect poem that summons spiritual meaning out of nature through introspection and metaphorical explorations of the physical world. Likewise, it is possible to claim that A. R. Ammons’ Corsons Inlet, an American poem similarly composed following a walking tour, shares the Romantic tradition of expressing a deep emotional connection with rustic surroundings. However, through his wandering depiction of the randomness and emergence of nature, Ammons offers a critique of the Romantic tradition, instead using loco-descriptive verse to express his sense of membership and discovery of the New World. The ways in which the poets respond to both their surroundings and wider social changes, such as the process of Enlightenment, differ significantly, therefore making it possible to regard Ammons’ ambulatory poem as a post-Romantic rejoinder to Tintern Abbey.

As an eighteenth century prospect poem, Tintern Abbey is irrevocably shaped by the historical circumstances in which it was written. Composed during a...

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