An Ordinary Man's Extraordinary Nature
Nature Writing is born out of love, appreciation, and wonder. It discovers its voice in the connection between man and the natural world (Harton). Conceivably the most American style of writing, it rejoices in America’s wilderness while it grieves America’s greed and exploitation of the environment (Johnson-Sheehan and Stewart). Nature Writing beckons us, with the intention of awakening our spirits. It stirs our souls, touches our hearts, and inspires our minds.
In Songs From The Ozarks And Other Poems, J.M. Hickman's lovely use of lyrical meter, regional dialect, vivid imagery, and compelling symbolism strike the senses. Hickman uses metaphors, similes, and analogies to write visually. He uses rhythm, assonance, onomatopoeia, and alliteration to add an aural quality to his prose. The combination of all these elements creates what is known as the "Grand Style" (Johnson-Sheehan and Stewart).
Hickman's masterful use of the Grand Style belies his humble roots. James Melmouth Hickman was born into a common farming family on September 25, 1861, in Wetumpka, Alabama. In adulthood, Hickman became a lawyer, poet, and Mason. He is listed in James B. Lloyd's Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967. Hickman spent his life traveling through, and living in, the beautiful Ozark Mountain regions. His book of poetry about the area and time he lived in, Songs From The Ozarks And Other Poems, was published in 1921. Around 1918, Hickman moved from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Earle, Arkansas, where he remained until the late 1920's. Sometime around 1927, he traveled to the Pigeon Creek area of Butler County, Alabama, to visit his second cousins. He bro...
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...ders to understand, revere, and love the natural world around them. His Grand Style made an emotional connection to the natural world through the written word of man possible.
Harton, Ron. "Henry Thoreau as a Model for Nature Writing." 9 August 2009. The Thoreau Reader. Online Document. 17 March 2014.
Hickman, J.M. "Prologue." Hickman, J.M. Songs From The Ozarks And Other Poems. 6th. Vicksburg: The Mississippi Printing Company, 1921. 5. Hardcover Book.
Hickman, John Wayne. Interview. Donna M. Kilgore. 17 March 2014.
Johnson-Sheehan, Richard and Kristi Stewart. "Composing Nature." Writing and Science September 2007, September 2007 ed. Online Periodical. March 2014.
Literary Devices. Imagery. 2010. Website. 2014.
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