Ecopoetics, 1960-2020 (Panel / Virtual)
Many of the finest poets in America and abroad have been exposing the destructive relationships between humans and nature and reimagining our place on the planet to help us avoid catastrophe. As environmental writer John Nichols once stated, "To save the world, first we must love it.” This virtual (online) session on ecopoetics aims to inspire and cultivate such a love. We particularly welcome scholars and poets who explore the natural world as a text and the literary achievement of great nature writers as exemplary readers. Works by Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, Joy Harjo, Mary Oliver, W. S. Merwin, and Pablo Neruda, including original poems or translations, such as Merwin’s translations of Jean Follain, are encouraged. Interdisciplinary submissions, and contributions about ecopoets from around the globe, are welcome.
Last year marked the 60th anniversary of Earth Day, which was celebrated for the first time on April 22, 1970. Eight years earlier Rachel Carson had published Silent Spring, an expose on the harmful effects of DDT on the environment and on human health, which prompted immediate attention by the Kennedy Administration and ultimately launched in the United States an environmental movement.
Sixty years later, there has never been a more urgent time to encourage engagement and interaction with the natural world. A polarized political climate and an extensive effort to deny the science of climate change have resulted in lost ground for the environmental movement. Many of the advances that were made in the 1970s, including the Endangered Species Act of 1973, are now under threat.