Discuss how Gray uses the environment to portray ideas about nature and humanity in Coast Road. In your response, make detailed reference to at least TWO poems set for study. Poetry has the ability to explore humanity in distinctive ways to elicit emotional responses. It provokes affective and cognitive responses through metaphorical experiences. The imagist poet Robert Gray provokes these responses through the exploration of nature in luminous detail using Asian inspiration in form and eastern philosophical approaches in content. He explores ideas of humanity through intimate insights about self and landscape, dealing with moods and ideas of the human condition and our connection to nature. These ideas are portrayed with a reverence for sensory perception throughout all poems in his anthology Coast Road. Harbour Dusk and Description of a walk ask us to consider how awareness allows us to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ beyond the moment and use this to restore and rest our minds and emotion and see nature and the world in ways we have previously not considered. Gray seamlessly connects humanity and nature through unique combinations of similes, metaphors, personifications and imagery. Reflecting on an experience is a significant trope in literature; it allows us to consider the metaphors of the environment and nature and how they reflect notions of human experiences. Harbour Dusk depicts the sunset on the harbour as a metaphor for the failure of relationships and how this human occurrence can be captured in nature. The ‘fading life’, of the harbour’s stone wall tells us that the relationship between ‘She and I’ is failing. Gray employs sensory description which engages sight and touch, ‘oily, aubergine dark’. Here ‘oily’ connotes something unsavoury to touch, not a pleasant image even though it is a beautiful scene. This depicts the failing relationship between the persona, and how beauty isn’t enough to save them over time. Gray uses imagery to alter the mood experienced throughout the poem. ‘Wandering’, ‘Overcast sky’ and ‘Evening confessional’, all offer a loss of light and colour which conveys a reflective sad mood change of the persona. This mood is reinforced throughout the poem via the rhyme scheme of a pararhyme. The poem, in its lapsing rhythm, has a melancholy sense of loss, of our plans being failed, inevitably; at the same time, it expresses the alluring relaxation that hides in pessimism. Through comparing landscapes to other notions of human experience, Gray presents the potential to explore how and why we create, and what it is that allows us to become aware of the connectedness of all things. Metaphysical connections are available when we begin to realise our capacity to share, through poetry, the emotional and spiritual nature of humanity’s flaws and vagaries which can be reflected through surrounding landscapes. Description of a Walk illustrates nature’s restorative capacity and how it can reflect human emotions and experiences. Gray uses imagery in the form of a metaphor comparing nature and the man-made world to immerse the reader in his adventure through nature. He compares the sounds of cicadas to ‘the warming of an engine’, helping the reader imagine the overwhelming noise created by the vocal insects. He emphasises this mechanical metaphor in the description of the collective noise ‘their hum’s power, an electricity substation’, the image he creates accentuates the immense power of the natural world to that of the man-made world and mimics the heightened, angry emotion of the persona at this point in the narrative. Gray sees the fecundity of the landscape as an archetypal metaphor for growth, peace of mind and renewal. His descriptive imagery compares the landscape to an exalted piece of art, ‘leaf-splatterings’ and ‘plinths and mantels’, these both portray that the landscape appears painted, due to its immense perfection. The connection between landscape and art is expanded through Gray’s intertextual reference to the ‘Pre-Raphaelite shine’. The Pre-Raphaelite’s were a rebellious group of artists Gray’s use of this reference comes with a double meaning. The trees look as though they were painted by the PreRaphaelite artists and the poet himself is righting in a ‘painterly’ manner as an imagist, which is an act of rebellion because most poets write in detailed and obscure metaphors. Gray goes out of his way to describe entities connected to notions and objects in the everyday world, allowing the reader a more thorough connection with his writing. Through encapsulating human ideologies in nature via efferent yet aesthetic language, Gray provides a connection both visceral and sentient, for the reader, allowing for strong correlations to be made regarding the connectiveness of humanity and nature.