ASLE Panel: Critical Perspectives on Ecopoetics

deadline for submissions: 
November 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Sarah Nolan / University of Nevada, Reno
contact email: 

Critical Perspectives on Ecopoetics


Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)

Detroit, Michigan

June 20-24, 2017


Conventional conceptions of ecopoetics—which generally rise from the work of John Elder, Leonard Scigaj, J. Scott Bryson, and Jonathan Bate, who present ecopoetics as mimetic and often activist in its sentiments—tie the term to the natural world and seek accurate expressions of it within language and form. In more recent conceptions of the term, however, technological and social shifts toward fewer physical and natural spaces and toward more digital and built sites are playing a larger role. In recent theory, ecopoetics is deployed as a critical approach to literature, which considers how external and often nonmaterial factors influence a writer’s experience of a physical space and acknowledges that the textual expression of that moment is uniquely infused with both lived and imagined elements. Yet, interpretations of ecopoetics still vary dramatically from one scholar to the next, which makes the term somewhat amorphous and, in many ways, indistinguishable from its creative counterpart--ecopoetry. Without some understanding among scholars of the general tenets of ecopoetics, the term is struggling to find a foothold among developments in ecocritical and literary theory and in the changing technological landscape.


“Critical Perspectives on Ecopoetics” will re-examine the state of ecopoetics in 2017 through a variety of approaches to the term that range from more traditional ecopoetics redeployed for the 21st century to radical new approaches that recover spaces and texts that were previously excluded from such readings. Participants might consider the influence of material ecocriticism, queer ecology, or affect theory on ecopoetics or, alternatively, might think through the ecopoetic undertones in writing that has been overlooked by ecocriticism and, perhaps, ecopoetics in the past. Work on extra-poetic and even non-literary texts is encouraged.

Please submit 300 word abstracts and short biography to Sarah Nolan ( by November 15, 2016. Panel proposals must be submitted to conference organizers by December 12, 2016 and final decisions will be made in February.