“The Land was Never Some of Ours”: Sustainability and Ecopoetic Perspectives on the Future (w/Dr. Chris McAllister Williams)

The November talk of our 2020 Common CAHSS: Beyond Sustainability Speaker Series (w/Dr. Chris McAllister Williams; recorded on November, 18, 2020). Common CAHSS is a yearly set of programing tied to a particular theme and brought to you by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS, pronounced “cause”) at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Learn more at www.uwgb.edu/cahss or cahsseffect.org.

Description: Ecopoetics is more than just poems about nature. Rather, it is poetry that positions humankind in relationship to “the natural,” embodying the tensions between ecological landscapes and late capitalism in, as scholar Lynn Keller terms it, the “self-conscious Anthropocene.” This talk will draw upon the work of bell hooks, Craig Santos Perez, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and others to situate the concerns of the Anthropocene—the proposed name for a new epoch when human activity is the dominant force reshaping the planet—alongside poetic approaches that seek to explore those concerns, culminating in a discussion about the interwoven nature of ecological location, sustainability, and creative responsibility that is a core focus of the field.

About the Speaker: Chris McAllister Williams is an Assistant Professor in English and Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, also teaching in the BFA for Writing and Applied Arts. He wrote the chapbooks Neon Augury(Fact-Simile Editions) and WILLIAM SHATNER (alice blue). His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Copper Nickel, Bayou Magazine, and elsewhere.

Ecopoetry Resources:

Dungy, Camille T. Trophic Cascade. Wesleyan UP, 2017.
—-, editor. Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. University
of Georgia Press, 2009.
Fisher-Wirth, Ann and Laura-Gray Street, editors. The Ecopoetry Anthology, Trinity UP,
Gander, Forrest and John Kinsella. Redstart: An Ecological Poetics. University of Iowa
Press, 2012.
Giscombe, C.S. Giscome Road. Dalkey Archive Press, 1998.
Gumbs, Alexis Pauline. Dub: Finding Ceremony. Duke UP, 2020.
Haraway, Donna J. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke UP,
Hogan, Linda. Rounding the Human Corners: Poems. Coffee House Press, 2008.
hooks, bell. Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place. UP of Kentucky, 2012.
Hume, Angela and Gillian Obsborne, editors. Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field. University
of Iowa Press, 2018.
Keller. Lynn. Recomposing Ecopoetics: North American Poetry of the Self-Conscious
Anthropocene. University of Virginia Press, 2017.
Knickerbocker, Scott. Ecopoetics: The Language of Nature, the Nature of Language.
University of Massachusetts Press, 2012.
Pico, Tommy. Nature Poem. Tin House, 2017.
Santos Perez, Craig. from unincorporated territory [guma’]. Omnidawn Publishing, 2014.
—. from unincorporated territory [lukao]. Omnidawn Publishing, 2017.
—. Habitat Threshold. Omnidawn Publishing, 2020.
Spahr, Juliana. Well Then There Now. University of California Press, 2005.
—-. The Winter the Wolf Came. Commune Editions, 2015.
Sobral Campos, Isabel, editor. Ecopoetics and the Global Landscape. Lexington Books,
Teare, Brian. Doomstead Days. Nightboat Books, 2019.
Tuckey, Melissa, editor. Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. University of
Georgia Press, 2018.

Other poets whose work intersects with ecopoetics:

Jorie Graham, Joy Harjo, Frank X Walker, Toi Derricotte, Thylias Moss, Lorine Niedecker, Jonathan Skinner, Corinne Lee, Brenda Hillman, Brenda Coultas, Brenda Iijima, Ed Roberson, Keith S. Wilson, Gary Snyder, Allusion Adelle Hedge Coke

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