Birds, Beasts and Flowers

  • M. J. Lockwood


Birds, Beasts and Flowers, taken from beginning to end, covers the years of Lawrence’s so-called ‘savage pilgrimage’: his travels around the globe after leaving England, as soon as peace had been declared, up to the start of his residence in America. ‘The poems of Birds, Beasts and Flowers were begun in Tuscany, in the autumn of 1920, and finished in New Mexico in 1923, in my thirty-eighth year’, Lawrence wrote in the Preface to Collected Poems.1 Actually, the bulk of the poems seem to have been written during a reasonably settled period spent in Italy, between September 1920 and March 1921, in which month Lawrence reported to J. C. Squire that he had ‘just finished’ Birds, Beasts and Flowers.2 Lawrence later added Fish, Bat, and Man and Bat to the collection in September 1921, and his visits to Ceylon and Australia in 1922 subsequently produced Elephant and Kangaroo. He completed the book in New Mexico, with the addition of the nine American poems, by March 1923.3 As far as any later revision is concerned, the poems are ‘practically untouched’, more so even than those in Look!, since ‘they are what they are’.4


Lower Centre Human Soul Cypress Tree Vegetable World Creative Motive 
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  1. 6.
    See Fantasia, pp. 34–40. For a detailed discussion of Lawrence’s theories see Daniel J. Schneider, D. H. Lawrence: The Artist as Psychologist (Lawrence, Kan., 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    Eliseo Vivas, D. H. Lawrence: The Failure and the Triumph of Art (Evanston, Ill., 1960), p. 275.Google Scholar
  3. 31.
    For example, Harry T. Moore in The Priest of Love (London, 1974) pp. 318–20.Google Scholar
  4. 40.
    Ibid., pp. 687–8. For a discussion of the ‘psycho-geography’ of Birds, Beasts, see George Y. Trail, ‘West by East’, in DHLR, 12 (Fall 1979) 241–55.Google Scholar

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© M. J. Lockwood 1987

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  • M. J. Lockwood

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