Throughout this short poem, the poet uses easy-to-understand language that many readers are going to relate to. So much so that readers of many different ages could read and enjoy this piece. ‘Camping Out’ is for anyone who has ever enjoyed camping or is considering going.
Explore Camping Out
‘Camping Out’ by Gina Marie Lauchner is a short and simple poem that celebrates camping and nature after dark.
In the first five lines of the poem, the speaker starts by listing out many of the things that one might encounter while camping. These include having sleeping bags, gathering firewood and leaves, and dealing with bugs. Despite all of these things, some of which are more fun than others, the speaker loves spending time outside, especially when it’s dark.
You can read the full poem here.
Sticks and sleeping bags and ants
Gathering wood and piling up leaves
In the first lines of this poem, the speaker begins by listing out seven things that one can expect when they go camping. These are things like having to bring sleeping bags, deal with ants, have dirty hands, and piling up leaves and wood to make a fire. These are simple statements, ones that easily evoke camping images and should immediately inspire the reader to imagine any similar scene that they’ve been a part of.
It’s clear that the speaker is celebrating this process. Camping is something they enjoy, despite the dirty hands and ants. They’re looking forward to camping and spending time outside.
Carrying toilet paper and finding a tree
The great outdoors after dark.
In the next lines, the speaker mentions a few more things that one can expect when one goes camping. Although it’s not glamorous and does require going to the bathroom outside, there is “nothing greater than / The great outdoors after dark.” The speaker loves being outside after dark and wants to celebrate it through the lines of this poem. But, it’s not only the experience of spending time outside; it’s also the preparation and experience of setting up the tent and making a fire that they love.
When readers walk away from this poem, they should feel something of the speaker’s appreciation of the natural scenery.
Structure and Form
‘Camping Out’ by Gina Marie Lauchner is a seven-line poem that is contained within a single stanza of text. The lines follow a simple rhyme scheme of AABBCDC. But, the “B” rhymes are half-rhymes rather than full rhymes. In this case, the long “e” sound corresponds in both words, but that’s all. The poet chose not to use a specific metrical pattern, despite the fact that most of the lines are similar in length.
Throughout this poem, the poet makes use of several literary devices. These include but are not limited to:
- Alliteration: can be seen when the poet repeats the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple words. For example, “sticks and sleeping” in line one and “finding” and “fire” in lines four and five.
- Accumulation: occurs when the poet lists out descriptions, ideas, and more that correspond to create a broader image of a scene or experience. In this case, the poet uses accumulation in the first four lines.
- Enjambment: can be seen when the poet cuts off a line before its natural stopping point. For example, the transition between lines one and two as well as lines four and five.
- Imagery: occurs when the poet uses particularly interesting and effective descriptions. For example, “Sitting by a fire and dodging the sparks.”
The tone is appreciative and descriptive. The speaker is casually describing some of the elements of camping. These are things one might see or have to do, including gathering firewood.
The themes at work in this poem are nature and hard work. Despite the latter, the speaker loves spending time out in nature, particularly once it gets dark. It’s a unique experience that they relish.
It’s unclear who exactly the speaker is, but they are someone who appreciates all the elements of camping, even those that aren’t exactly glamorous.
The purpose is to share a love of camping with the reader. They are chronicling the simple things that one experiences when they go camping, things that most readers have likely seen and experienced before.
Readers who enjoyed ‘Camping Out’ should also consider reading some related poems. For example:
- ‘Night on the Mountain’ by George Sterling – a beautiful and thoughtful poem. In it, the speaker explores the soul of a mountain.
- ‘Sleeping in the Forest’ by Mary Oliver – a lyric poem that depicts a speaker’s experience in the natural world. She spends the night in the forest and is made better for it.
- ‘The Starlight Night’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins – describes the importance of looking at the stars and appreciating God’s creation in one’s everyday life.