Habitude: ecological poetry as (Im)Possible (Inter)Connection

Strang, Emma Clare (2013) Habitude: ecological poetry as (Im)Possible (Inter)Connection. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Ecological poetry, Ecopoetry, Interrelationship, Interconnection, Ecological Crisis, Poetic 'I', Habitude, Mythopoesis, Mythos, Logos, John Burnside, Robin Robertson, Susan Richardson, David Troupes, Timothy Morton, Gaston Bachelard
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Supervisor's Name: Borthwick, Dr. David and Elizabeth, Dr. Reeder
Date of Award: 2013
Embargo Date: 19 January 2013
Depositing User: Mrs E Strang
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4813
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2014 09:34
Last Modified: 05 May 2014 09:34
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/4813

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