Ecopoetics: Nature, Lyric, and Ecology

Winter 2016-2017

26406

Jose-Luis Moctezuma

This course will track the literary development of the concept and practice of "ecopoetics," with particular focus on the complex ethical responses that ecologically-minded poets and thinkers have made to the quandary of global warming and the emergence of the anthropocene. How might "lyrical thought" spawn modes of ecological practice and global-mindedness that are otherwise unthinkable in other disciplines and fields? In attempting to develop answers to this question, the course will place special pressure on the concept of "nature" and how such a concept creates the conditions for cultural forms that either contribute to, or work against, the specter of climate change. Is there one Nature or are there many natures? If poetry can produce, describe, and translate world(s), can poetry also "save the world"? We will read texts that look closely at how these two discourses--lyric and nature--in fact construct synthetic forms of ecological thinking. How might an “ecology of the mind” reflect or narrate the depressive environmental conditions of today? Can ecopoetry still be meaningful and productive in an age of rampant environmental desecration? (C, H)