In 1913, Alfred Joyce Kilmer heralded a new era in poetry with a poem that began with the now-famous lines:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
For centuries, poets had been expected (it was in the job description!) to know the names of different species of trees, and so they filled their poems with alders, baobabs, cherries, dogwoods, elders, firs, guelder-roses, hawthorns, ironwoods, junipers, kiawes, larches, maples, nutmegs, osiers, poplars, quaking aspens, rhododendrons, sycamores, tupelos, umbrella pines, verawoods, willows, crossbreeds, yews, and zelkovas. After Kilmer, poets were free to say, it's just a tree. It’s lovely, and it’s called a "tree".



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