Nearer by Far: The Upset ‘I’ in Margaret Atwood’s Poetry



The extent to which Margaret Atwood’s poetry involves hurtful connections between people and their environment is evident to anyone who has read her books. The theme figures prominently from the outset, in The Circle Game (1966), The Animals in That Country (1968), The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), and Procedures for Underground (1970). Atwood’s attention to ‘nature’ soon extends dramatically to spiky relationships between the sexes in Power Politics (1971). The book set off such shock waves in Canada that to this day literary folk will readily invoke the first poem: ‘you fit into me/like a hook into an eye//a fish hook/an open eye’ (1).1 Yet the speaker who presides over the rest of the book is, I eventually will argue, neither so ferocious nor so beleaguered as the quotation or some readers would have us believe.2


Power Politics Romantic Love Transitive Verb True Story Fish Hook 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1994

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