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Chapter 9 of Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 is “Wordsworth’s ‘Michael,’ the Georgic, and Blackberry Smoke,” pp. 127-140, by Ronald D. Morrison, Professor of English, Morehead State University.
“Wordsworth’s ‘Michael,’ the Georgic, and Blackberry Smoke” by Ronald D. Morrison begins by more precisely defining Wordsworth’s “Michael” as exemplary of georgic rather than pastoral conventions in the light of more recent ecocritical perspectives. Having done so, he then illustrates how the music of Blackberry Smoke, a contemporary country or southern rock band, appropriates georgic conventions in a way parallel to Wordsworth’s “Michael.” Both Wordsworth and Blackberry Smoke address “lingering problems that have plagued farming communities for two centuries or more: burdensome mortgages, the out-migration of rural young people, the loss of family farms, and the steady erosion of traditional rural customs and values.” Additionally, both Wordsworth’s “Michael” and the music of Blackberry Smoke similarly engage Evangelical tropes and rhetorical strategies to comment on rural and agricultural life and religion. Ultimately, both the band and the poet are allowed to comment on one another’s engagement with rural communities, with rural religion, and with the specificities of place through their similar appropriation of georgic conventions.
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