Exploring the potential of the sestina for creating wonder and connectedness to nature

Processes and practices that stimulate and evoke experiences of wonder and awe may be essential to helping humanity establish a closer and more sustainable relationship to nature and self. How can poetry evoke wonder by re-engaging with classical imaginative forms? In this article I will approach this problem by elucidating the background to a sestina I have written, in which I speculate about the similarities of the repetitions of the six end words and the hexagonal form of snowflakes, as the poem traces the growth and trajectory of a falling snowflake, positing a specular relation between sestina and snow crystal. The poem aims to stimulate a double sense of wonder: the meeting of the invariant and the manifold, the organic and the crafted, cosmos and psyche. The article discusses Renaissance and modern explorations of the potential of the sestina form, and the phenomenology of awe and wonder in relation to ecological awareness.

Keywords: awe; wonder; sestina; poetic form; correspondences; connectedness to nature; ecological awareness