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Poetic Animals and Animal Souls

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Mesoamericans' rich spiritual beliefs about the importance of animals and about the correlation between the well-being of animals and that of human beings contrast with a diminutive respect accorded to animals in industrialized cultures. Some vestige of a parallel sensibility, however - granting animals an aura of dignity relatively independent of anthropocentric constructions - may be detected in the animal poetry of selected Western writers including Marianne Moore, Gary Snyder, and José Emilio Pacheco. Such animal poetry, although possessing no explicit links to Mesoamerican spirituality, may represent an ethos extant (albeit rare) in industrial-world culture that quietly celebrates - as Mesoamerican culture does more unabashedly - the sanctity and parity of nonhuman animals.



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