great-flanked oxen knew the drag, the burden
man devised beyond his strength to pull.
Now lever, wheel, and piston make a spectacle...
There are two aspects of Booth’s poetry that cause it to get lost in the shuffle of his more famous contemporaries mentioned above. Both aspects are entirely positive, but potentially detrimental when it comes to inclusion in future anthologies and lasting fame. The first is that his work is not dramatically original in the vein of Ashbery’s postmodern antics, Merwin’s sometimes mythic primitivism and unusual metaphysical leaps, and Rich’s various formal experiments following her seminal 1971 collection, The Will to Change.
He's "Pastoral" as Frost is pastoral: his most common settings are not the idyllic pastures of Virgil but the "Hard Country" of Maine, both rural and wild. The Booth of these poems spends the "turning year" keenly aware of seasons, solstices, equinoxes, constellations; he writes more often and often more sympathetically of the rocks and trees and birds on the mountains and at the sea's edge than he does of his neighbors.