Tyler Pedersen is not the kind of guy who would draw your attention in a crowded room. Tall but unassuming, he has a voice that you need to lean in to hear and a way of talking that is simultaneously solemn and unassuming.
For all his quietude, Pedersen turns passionate when the topic is poetry. He is the creator and curator of the blog The Ancient Eavesdropper, launched this past March, where he posts his photos and poems.
“When I first started to blog, I didn’t even know what a blog was,” Pedersen said.
Soon enough, though, he realized that people were reading and watching. WordPress chose to highlight one of his poems, “A Different Knowhow,” as a Freshly Pressed post exposing his work to a huge audience. The blog has grown to 1955 followers from 96 countries who posted 4325 comments since March.
Pedersen started writing as a college sophomore when he purchased a digital camera and began recording what he saw on his walks and wanderings. The photos are a way of “picturing the moment” and the poems communicate that connection to the world. He uses the image to associate a feeling with the experience of seeing. He calls this “a bookmarker for life.”
“I try to connect the readers with a place, something that has meaning and something that has purpose,” Pedersen said.
One of the components making his work unique is the delivery. His poems that are so preoccupied with wooded pathways and skyscapes are delivered solely through fiber optics and cables. And it is a successful juxtaposition for him.
Readers on his blog often comment and they are mostly positive, rare in the age of internet trolls. Scrolling through his blog it is clear that he has a following of like-minded folks who want to see the connection between words and nature, art and environment.
Pedersen sees his poetry and its hyper-delivery as a natural fit in a social media obsessed culture. And he is an advocate for it as a medium.
“We all have these hyper-always-at-your-fingertips instant messages. Poetry fits right into that. But people have a preconceived notion that it is a scholarly thing,” he said.
Poetry is a medium that allows him to process ideas and images and not be held to any specific boundaries, like plot or character. “I want to always have something fresh. I don’t want it to go stagnant.”
His poems’ tone and focus are reminiscent of the nineteenth century Romantic poets who struggled with their separation from nature as they extolled its majesty. But his inspiration comes less from the masters or those he reads, like Gary Snyder and Edgar Allan Poe, than nature itself. He aims to write in the way that nature, as he sees it, exists. His goal is like the naturalist, to share his craft and its beauty with those who may be slow to see that something simple can also be something wonderful.
“It’s kind of like evolution: mutations, constantly shifting to adapt. I feel that my poetry should mimic that and be flexible and not rigid because nature is not really like that,” he said.