English 190

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2021 Shoptaw, John
TTh 2-3:30

Other Readings and Media

A course reader will be available from Krishna Copy (University Ave. at Milvia St.)

Description

Ecopoetry – nature poetry that is environmental and environmentalist – is an international twenty-first century movement.  But in the nature poetry and poetics of the United States it has deep and wide-spread roots.  This seminar will explore this movement in U.S. nature and environmental(ist) poetry from the nineteenth century to the contemporary poetry and poetics, romantics and post-romantics (including Whitman, Dickinson, Emerson and Thoreau), modernists (including Frost, Stevens, Jeffers, Moore, Eliot, Brown) post-modernists (including Snyder, Merwin, Bishop, Berry) and contemporaries (including Diaz, Graham, Hass, Baker, Gander, Dungy, Hillman and Hirshfield).  We will also read relevant theories of nature and its representation in poetry; and also ecopoetics, essays about the natures and uses of ecopoetry.  While our exploration will be primarily historical, our focus will also be theoretical, involving a number of recurrent topics, including anthropocentrism (and ecocentrism), anthropomorphism (and the pathetic fallacy), animals, place, disaster and pollution, environmental justice, and global warming.  You will learn how to read a poem ecocritically.  You will be asked to write three five-page essays on a poem by a post-romantic, a modern, and a post-modern poet.  This seminar is multi-centered and open-ended.  It benefits from the local experiences and expertise of its students.  I learn as much as I teach. 

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