In Nature and The Poet, Emerson fixates on the concepts of clear vision (his idea that the poet can clearly see, understand, and articulate nature into a "stroke of genius") and "perpetual youth." Through this, he claims that America is a poem itself. In class we discussed that America represents perpetual youth because at the time Emerson was alive, America was a very new nation with an unexplored frontier. Along with Bryant's idea of nature ("Man hath no part in all this glorious work"), both of these writers felt that America alone was a poem and needed no translation from man. But today, almost 200 years later, there is very little nature left to be explored and observed. There seems to be poetry about human plight and urbanization, and the phase of Romanticism and appreciating the beauty of nature in great detail has been filed away on the bookshelves in our anthologies. Also, there are so many people today who label themselves poets, and who think each line they post on the internet is the work of a genius. What do you think Emerson would say about poets today? Do poets still posses clear vision? And is America still a poem, or has its "perpetual youth" run out?
Looking at the cover of our handy dandy Norton Anthology Volume B, the painting of the Hudson River Valley is the perfect example of Emerson's nature: