David Malouf

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How does Malouf's poem "A Recollection of Starlings, Rome '84" encourage us to consider the influence nature can have on our creative capacity?

David Malouf's poem "A Recollection of Starlings: Rome '84" encourages reflection on the parallels between nature and creativity by comparing a flock of starlings to the writing process of a poet. The poem shows how nature can mirror the creative process and inspire creativity by allowing ideas to fly freely.

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In "A Recollection of Starlings: Rome '84," David Malouf creates a parallel between a group of starlings flying overhead, spinning and wheeling, bridging and breaking, ballooning and buckling, stooping and swaying, and the process of writing a poem.

The typewriter clatters like the birds' wings, scattering letters across the paper...

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In "A Recollection of Starlings: Rome '84," David Malouf creates a parallel between a group of starlings flying overhead, spinning and wheeling, bridging and breaking, ballooning and buckling, stooping and swaying, and the process of writing a poem.

The typewriter clatters like the birds' wings, scattering letters across the paper as the poet writes. They gather and take shape like the cloud of birds, twisting and turning the poet's ideas, making new forms. Unlike the cloud of birds, however, the letters and words remain on the paper. Their form becomes set. It no longer swoops and scatters.

Yet the poet does not appear to be satisfied with his work, for as the birds fly away and leave the sky clear and fresh, he puts a new sheet of paper into his typewriter. There will be a new draft of his poem, a clean sheet across which his ideas can flow yet again.

This poem helps us see how nature can both mirror and inspire our creativity. The poet looks at the cloud of starlings, and he recognizes his own writing process. His ideas spin and fly, twist and turn, and take on endless new shapes, just like the birds in flight. The metaphor is creative and appealing, but it ultimately fails, for the poet's words become fixed on paper and remain still while a flock of birds does not. However, the poet can begin a new draft with a blank sheet, just like a blank sky waits for another flock of birds.

We can see how this nature metaphor can inspire creativity, for it encourages writers to let their ideas fly freely and even to take unexpected forms. It also allows writers to start over, to be unsatisfied and begin again, to start fresh with a clean sheet, and to wait for the ideas to return and soar.

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