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Title: Habitude : ecological poetry as (Im)Possible (Inter)Connection
Author: Strang, Emma Clare
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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The proposition that ecological crisis can be ameliorated or even resolved if humans were to 'reconnect to the natural world', has been steadily gaining in popularity since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962). In a collection of my own poems, Habitude, I unpack this idea, asking what 'connection to nature' might mean and exploring ways in which ecological poetry can be said to enact - thematically and formally - the kind of connection it seeks to encourage. I discuss the use of the poetic 'I' and its absence, scrupulous observation (of mindscape as much as landscape) and mythopoetic narrative, as poetic 'strategies of connection'. In this way, the poems invite the reader to (re)negotiate an emotional, intellectual and spiritual relationship between the human and nonhuman. Habitude suggests that 'connection to nature' is not 'shining union' (Tim Lilburn) but interrelationship, an interdependent co-existence of diverse and disparate species. With reference to both ecocritical texts, in particular the work of Timothy Morton, and contemporary ecopoetics (John Burnside, Robin Robertson, Kathleen Jamie, Don Paterson, amongst others), I present a deliberately polyphonic thesis in an effort to formally embody the notion of interrelationship. Polyphony is represented not just in the different writing styles (academic/conversational/poetic/personal) and genres (poetry and prose), but also in the presence of three distinct voices: alongside the collection of poetry, I engage in two conversations with fellow ecological poets, Susan Richardson and David Troupes. The conversations focus on ecopoetic practice and 'strategies of connection'. In an essay which offers a personal take on 'ecopoetry' and its role in facilitating interrelationship, I explore the strengths of ecological poetry at this time of accelerating climate change and biodiversity loss. I suggest that its value lies not so much in 'saving the earth' (Jonathan Bate), but in offering a covert politics of potential – a space to renegotiate human-nonhuman interrelationship, whilst resting in uncertainty.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature