R 2:00 PM – 4:50 PM
For the last two centuries, poets have ranged their discourse against the ideologies of industrial capitalism that drive the Anthropocene. Today’s ecopoetics began when writers such as John Clare and William Wordsworth identified not just what they said but also the way they said it as a way of thinking, speaking, and writing against the exploitation of the earth and against the languages that justified that exploitation. Their poetry subverted those languages while also exemplifying a way of being in the world that was not debased by those languages—a non-exploitative, and non-exploited, selfhood. Key texts by innovative women poets, such as Dorothy Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, and H.D., pioneered a proto-feminist selfhood reflecting a differently gendered experience of the more-than-human world. Black poets, such as Jean Toomer and Derek Walcott, articulated ways of being inflected by the long history of colonial exploitation of people and places—and explicitly challenged some of white culture’s idealizations of nature. Our exploration of ecopoetics and ecopoetry from the Romantics to the present may include, in addition to the above poets, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Marilyn Nelson, Ted Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Alice Oswald, Jorie Graham, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Juliana Spahr, and Ed Roberson, among others.