Ecocriticism NowThe essays, reviews, and poetry collected in this thread trace responses to the interlinked terms nature, ecology, and ecocriticism, all of which have come to occupy increasingly important roles in a number of everyday and academic discourses over the last few decades. The “now” of its title is therefore not only a mark of the interest of certain contributions in the development of ecocritical theory (ecocriticism at this moment in time), but also an injunction, a call for more. This thread is co-edited by Tom White.
Anthologising the Anthropocene: Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet and Veer Ecology (both University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Shona McCombes ponders if anthologies ever bring us closer to the meaning of the “Anthropocene”, or whether they attempt, in different, roundabout, twisting, turning, veering ways to make sense of it in their own way.
The Poetics of Sand: Psammomancy by Brian Lavelle and Mark Valentine. As part of our Ecocriticism Now thread, Maria Sledmere reviews the project Psammomancy: referring to “the art of parsing or scrying with sand”, the collaborative project includes a 16-page booklet and CD, published by Seacliffe Press and featuring the poetry of Mark Valentine, alongside the intricate soundscapes of Brian Lavelle and Jo Valentine’s black-and-white photography.
Sailing Without Ahab: An Eco-Poetic Voyage, Part Two by Steve Mentz. Two poems from a planned cycle of 135 poems – one for each chapter in Moby-Dick – without the stabilizing mad focus of the Nantucket captain. Guided by Ishmael’s waywardness and curiosity, these poems seek an alien ecopoetics of marine depths, the refraction of light, the taste of salt on skin.
Whose Anthropocene?: Anthropocene Feminism, edited by Richard Grusin. Reviewed by Kate Lewis Hood. Keenly aware that the Anthropocene debate – and our thread so far – has been skewed towards the male, Kate Lewis Hood focuses on the feminist perspective of the ecocritical debate.
Sailing Without Ahab: An Eco-Poetic Voyage, Part One by Steve Mentz. Three poems from a planned cycle of 135 poems – one for each chapter in Moby-Dick – without the stabilizing mad focus of the Nantucket captain. Guided by Ishmael’s waywardness and curiosity, these poems seek an alien ecopoetics of marine depths, the refraction of light, the taste of salt on skin.
The Two Anachronisms: An Ecocritical Response to A Review, by Steve Mentz. In this piece of our Ecocriticism Now thread, Steve Mentz responds to Peter Adkins’ review of Mentz’s work, ‘Anthropocene Flotsam: Steve Mentz’s Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Gloablization, 1550–1719‘, and defines the two anachronisms, a concept developed out of his previous work.
Behind the Pastoral: Cynan Jones’ Cove. Peter Adkins assesses to what extent Jones’ work, and Cove in particular, could be described as “ecocritical”, or a “work of the ecological imagination”.
Anthropocene Flotsam: Steve Mentz’s Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization, 1550-1719. Peter Adkins reviews Steve Mentz’s most recent book about the post-Anthropocene age of the Naufragocene.
About Watching: Identification and the Animal. Dan Eltringham reviews Helen Macdonald’s ‘H is for Hawk’, ‘Hen Harrier Poems’ by Colin Simms, Peter Riley’s ‘Due North’, and ‘Poems: 2004-2014’ by Harriet Tarlo to find them negotiating the complex divide between human and non-human animal through acute and artistic apprehension.
Enter Anthropocene c. 1610. Steve Mentz reads a redating of the ‘Age of Man’ through the disordering words of Prospero.
‘The Animals Continue On’: A Conversation Between Scott Rogers and Tom White. Tom White and Scott Rogers discuss Rogers’ work, entitled No Date, and explore issues around art as documentary and the ordinariness of apocalypse.
SCALES/PATTERNS by Tom White. In the photo essay, travelogue and soundscape Ecocriticism Now editor Tom White visits Iceland for the New Chaucer Society Congress and remembers the contributions and topics covered in the thread so far.
Four Swim Poems and a Picture by Steve Mentz. These poems are part of a larger project that explores swimming as an aesthetic practice for our age of ecological catastrophe.
ORFORD NESS: A photo essay by Graham Riach. The Orford Ness peninsula on the Suffolk Coast was once controlled by the Ministry of Defence and used as a secret testing site for military hardware and is now a National Trust nature reserve.
GOT MILK? Marianna Simnett’s Short Film ‘ The Udder’ – by Sam Solnick. An ecocritical reading of The Udder, which was exhibited at the Jerwood Space, London, between the 12th of March and 27th of April, and the CCA, Glasgow, between the 4th of April and the 21th of April, as part of the Glasgow International Festival.
BEYOND GREEN, BEYOND THE WORLD: Jeffrey J. Cohen’s Prismatic Ecology and Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects – by Tom White. The first review in the Ecocriticism Now thread, giving an overview of contemporary theoretical debates.