Rescaling Eco-Poetics

Sam WeselowskiMCRg

In Spaces of Hope, David Harvey argues that to fight capital the left must “learn to coordinate potentially contradictory politics within itself at the different spatial scales for it is often the case in hierarchical spatial systems (and ecological problems frequently pose this dilemma) that what makes good political sense at one scale does not make such good politics at another” (50). In the struggle against capitalism’s multiple names and destructive modes — racialized and colonial extractions, austerity, deindustrialization, neoliberalism, the Anthropocene, the Sixth Extinction — how would contradictory politics be articulated in politically, socially and ecologically active poetics? How would the poem pay attention to the both expanding and contracting scale of political action necessary in the present? If articulating contradictory politics across distinct spaces, places and temporalities poses a problem for political coherency (and by extension efficacy), how might poetry and poetics begin to intervene on this problematic? Is poetry and poetics already engaged in such an intervention?

This panel seeks to take up these question through the theory and praxis of ecopoetics. As Jonathan Skinner notes, “ecopoetics brings ecology (an understanding of Earth systems including human ecology) together with the systems-aware writing of the ‘New American’ poetry, and conversely brings awareness of the writing environment into discussions of ecology” (322-323).

Taking ecopoetics as a creative practice that rearticulates global- and world-systems through the specificities of poetic form while also drawing attention to the site of composition (in every sense of the word), this panel critically re-examines poetry’s capacity for radical politics under conditions of ecological collapse. Crucially, this panel explores how the biospheric effects of globalized, geophysical capitalism are felt on the minutiae of the poem — the intimacy of its address, the inner workings of the line, syllable and phoneme. This panel in turn interrogates how the ecopoetic text bears these pressures to produce modes of attention that create informed politics across spatiotemporal scales and the contested relations between space, place and forms of life within them.

Some questions and/or topics of discussion might include:

  • Ecopoetics
  • Ecocriticism
  • Scale
  • Industrialization, post-Industrialization, deindustrialization
  • Urban ecology
  • Anthropocene
  • Capitalocene
  • Globalization
  • Digital and environmental humanities crossovers
  • Centre/periphery
  • Local-global dialectics
  • Movement
  • Attention
  • Microspection
  • Cartography
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Labour
  • Totality
  • Close and distant reading
  • Migration
  • World-Systems Theory
  • Affect
  • Combined and uneven development

Home is Where the Wi-Fi Connects Automatically: Exploring the Poetics of Roaming (Katharina Kalinowski)

PhD Candidate, Universität zu Köln / University of Kent / University College Dublin

Vernacular Realism: Looking from Below in the Poetry of Peter Culley (Tom Crompton)

PhD Candidate, University of Warwick

“[I]ncorporated into the waste stream”: Toxic Politics, Socio-Ecological Reproduction, and Poetic Scale (Katy Lewis Hood)

PhD Candidate, Queen Mary University of London

“Words turn mysteriously against those who use them”: Jack Spicer’s Microspection (Sam Weselowski)

PhD Candidate, University of Warwick

Marianne Moore’s “An Octopus”: Arctic Ecologies of the Self (Dr João Paulo Guimarães)

Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Dublin

Fri 11:00 am - 12:15 pm