In “A Reason for Poetics,” collected in Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing, Barbara Guest addresses the tension between physical and “mysterious” dimensions of poetry. Beginning a section titled “Poetic Codes,” Guest writes:
In “Gentle Now, Don't Add to Heartache,” Juliana Spahr offers a narrative of the displacement of human imagination defined by creaturely and vegetal affiliation and transelemental immersion in the natural world. Lists of nonhuman species imply an abundant, connective world, and these same are beseeched not to “add to heartache,” prior to their replacement by chemical-industrial products later in the poem. “We come into the world / and there it is” – the poem’s opening lines prompt.