Water into words: a creative and discursive investigation into the relationships between ecopoetry and river ecology in selected anthologised river poems

Galley, Jacqueline (2015) Water into words: a creative and discursive investigation into the relationships between ecopoetry and river ecology in selected anthologised river poems. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3130024


This creative writing thesis concerns ecopoetic engagement with river environments, and it uses a number of forms and responses in order to consider the ways in which Ecopoetry might be employed to convey the complex environmental pressures that rivers face in the early twenty-first century. The thesis is an experimental investigation which addresses the interactions between science and poetry, river ecology and verse.
The thesis is primarily a creative investigation into river environments, taking the form of lyrical essays which explore particular environmental issues, and a collection of poems which responds to notions of water becoming words, rivers flowing into poems and being transformed, and potentially transformative.
As its starting point and provocation, the thesis examines the claims made by editors of leading anthologies of Ecopoetry, namely Neil Astley’s Earth Shattering (2007), John Burnside and Maurice Riordan’s Wild Reckoning (2006) and Alice Oswald’s The Thunder Mutters (2007) concerning the ability of environmental poetry to address environmental concerns and inform readers. Considering carefully poetic responses to environmental problems affecting river environments, the thesis then examines closely selected poems from these anthologies to consider their scientific exactitude and veracity in describing and portraying particular environmental problems associated with rivers.
The thesis also contains a series of aligned lyrical essays in which I seek out key ecological threats to water environments: diffuse pollution; potential for catastrophic pollution events, and morphological change. I use these essays as a means of discussing the ubiquity of environmental threat to rivers, and barriers to popular understanding of the issues involved, through personal reflection. These key themes are then picked up again in a selection of poems which portray water environments in a way which is informed by a deep knowledge of river ecology and which seeks to communicate specific issues to the reader.
The thesis is an eclectic investigation during which I reflect upon my dual roles of river ecologist and writer. I seek to reconcile through creative engagement the two lenses through which my committed environmental concerns are conveyed. Indeed, the thesis demonstrates that ecopoetry is a practice, as well as an art. Many ecopoets insist that the writer to get out into their environment, rather than experiencing it ‘in virtual glimpses’ (John Burnside).
The thesis is constructed as an experiment as well as a series of reflections, then, providing a scientist’s view and critique of Ecopoetry, but also reflecting on my own poetic practices, and considering how key environmental issues can be conveyed using verse.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Ecopoetry, river environments, creative responses, scientific critique
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Precurrent Departments > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Supervisor's Name: Borthwick, Dr. David and Gillespe, Dr. Steven
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Ms J Galley
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6760
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2015 11:46
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2023 13:02
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6760

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