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Ecopoetics

This six-week summer seminar will explore the theory and practice of ecopoetics. We will begin with traditions and formal experimentation in poetry concerned with questions of mind and matter, language and place, thinking and perception. We will then read and discuss the relationship between the making of poems and ecology. We will read lots of poems, discuss ecopoetics in terms of what Charles Olsen once called a “stance toward reality,” and consider the practice of ecopoetics in the selected poems of three major poets: A.R. Ammons, Gary Snyder, and Mary Oliver.

The Readings in the course begin with the following books: The Ecopoetry Anthology (Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street, eds. Trinity UP 2014. ISBN-10: 1595341463 / ISBN-13: 978-1595341464); Mary Oliver, The Leaf And The Cloud: A Poem. (Da Capo 2000. Reprint edition 2001. ISBN-10: 0306810735 / ISBN-13: 978-0306810732; Gary Snyder, This Present Moment: New Poems. (Counterpoint 2015. ISBN-10: 1619025248 / ISBN-13: 978-1619025240, and A.R. Ammons, Garbage: A Poem. (Norton 1993 Reprint edition 2002. ISBN-10: 0393324117 / ISBN-13: 978-0393324112)

Students will be reading a number of additional poems and statements about poetry, as necessary, during the duration of the course, including some of the material on the Resources page of this site.

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The Leaf and the Cloud

The Leaf and the Cloud is a poem of welcome, a poem of amazement, a poem-of-don’t-know. Oliver’s book-length poem, preoccupied with the relationship between the work of the poet and the work of the world, offers fresh insights into one of the most compelling voices in contemporary American poetry.

In the first of its seven sections Oliver welcomes the reader “to the silly, comforting poem” (1). Yet her immediate concern is with what the poem is not. It is not “the sunrise, / which is a red rinse, / which is flaring all over the eastern sky; nor is it the “trees, or the burrow burrowing into the earth.” Oliver concludes, “The poem is not the world. / It isn’t even the first page of the world” (5).

Much of the poem is devoted to exploring what Charles Olson once called a poet’s “stance toward reality.” Its dialectical rhythms register this ongoing inquiry. “And I am thinking: maybe looking and listening / is the real work. / Maybe the world, without us, / is the real poem.” Maybe. “Would it be better to sit in silence? / To think everything, to feel everything, to say nothing?” (11). Maybe not, Oliver presses, as ours is not “the way of the orange gourd,” or “the habit of the rock in the river.” No, “The nature of man is not the nature of silence” (12).

Rather we must labor between the leaves and the clouds, singing “for the veil that never lifts” (15). “It is the nature of stone / to be satisfied. / It is the nature of water / to want to be somewhere else” (41). For Oliver, human nature consists in the dual urgencies of both stone and water—at rest and rest-less. “It is our nature not only to see / that the world is beautiful / but to stand in the dark, under the stars, / or at noon, in the rainfall of night, / half-mad, saying over and over: / what does it mean, that the world is beautiful— / what does it mean?” (42).

This terrifyingly precise question is rooted in Oliver’s conviction that “A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world / and the responsibilities of your life” (6). So, Oliver coaxes, go out into the world. “Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away. / Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance. / In the glare of your mind, be modest. / And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling. / Live with the beetle and the wind” (25).

Oliver has mastered the art of living with—beholden to the dance of what is certain with what is not. “In my mind, the arguers never stop— / the skeptic and the amazed. / The general and the particular, in their / uneasy relationship” (25–6). Oliver’s ease is uneasiness. And her readers, once again, will be grateful.

Dear Class #1

Dear class,

The writing you are doing so far is a pleasure to read. The 500 word discussion posts are focused and your close-reading skills are evident. The idea is to be engaging and informative. Your primary purpose is to discuss the qualities of the poem that make it interesting for us as students of ecopoetry. Remember that the statements about poetry, and the comments on poems as ecopoems, is useful for describing and contextualizing the text under discussion.

The commentaries are off to a good start. But there are important lessons to learn from these first drafts and much, much more work to do. We are publishing these commentaries on a web site designed for use, and you will be contributing editors. And so the expectations and standards are much higher than you may be accustomed.

I have taken the commentaries and put them in a Google Drive Folder for you to access and revise. I need each of you to send me your gmail address. (I have Danielle’s.) If you do not have a gmail account, please set one up and send me your gmail address. I will then share the folder with you so that you can work on the file by the deadlines. We can talk about how to use the comment feature in Google docs, if necessary.

(I will also be asking to meet with Heather and Kyle on Google Hangouts for a video conference, and so having a google account is necessary. If you are hang any technical difficulties, please let me know.)

When you have access to my notes on your commentaries please review them alongside the commentary template.

Paragraph 1

  1. textual information
  • texts have histories (manuscripts, versions, editions) that may be relevant
  • texts first appeared where (date and location) and then in book form
  • poem (verse) structure: lyric, narrative, dramatic
  1. contextual information
  • biographical
  • social/cultural
  • when the poem occurred in the arc of the poets career

Most first paragraphs will end in a transitional summary sentence to continue the commentary

Paragraph 2: Summary of the poem Descriptive account of form and content

  • relevant details of poem structure (octave/sestet, narrative book-length poem, etc.)
  • relation of poem to other poems or texts
  • relation of poem to social or cultural or historical context(s)
  • relevant summary of poetic features (language, imagery)
  • relevant lines, phrases, words quoted as evidence

Paragraph 3: Critical reception of poem Tradition of commentary and conversation about the poem. This is the section in which you will account for the received interpretation (hermeneutics) of the poem.

  • How was the poem received by contemporaries?
  • How has the poem been read by readers since its publication?
  • Are there critical debates or different ways of reading the poem?
  • How does the poem fit into a literary tradition?

Paragraph 4: Conclusion Informed comment about the significance and/or interest of the poem

The commentaries you have written need to be revised to include all of these features. In particular, each of you needs to do a much more work on paragraph 2 (the textual features of the poem) and 3 (the articles and essays and book chapters and books and major encyclopedias that mention the poem). Remember that one source will often lead to others in the notes or the bibliography. If there is a biography of the poet, look in the index to see if the poem is mentioned. We will do some work in the library (or you will need to spend some time in a college or university library) finding the sources that will help you complete your commentary. Please make use of the Reference Librarian, too. Their job is to help you with projects like this. I am here to help as well.

A good example of a sufficient Bibliography and Further Reading is a commentary by a former student on Emily Dickinson’s poem, “A Diamond on the Hand

Bibliography and Further Reading “A Timeline of Emily Dickinson’s Life.” Emily Dickinson Museum. Emily Dickinson Museum (2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2013); Emily Dickinson. “1108.” The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. (Boston: Bay Back Books, 1960. 500. Print); Scott Donaldson. “Emily Dickinson Face to Face by Martha Dickinson Bianchi.” Rev. for Emily Dickinson Face to Face by Martha Dickinson Bianchi. The New England Quarterly (44.1 [1971]: 161-63. Print); Morris U Schappes. Emily Dickinson Face to Face: Unpublished Letters with Notes and Reminiscences by Emily Dickinson, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, Alfred Leete Hampson.” Rev. for Emily Dickinson Face to Face: Unpublished Letters with Notes and Reminiscences by Emily Dickinson, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, Alfred Leete Hampson. American Literature (5.1 [1933]: 82-85. Print); Martha Nell Smith & Ellen Louise Hart. “On Franklin’s Gifts and Ghosts.” The Emily Dickinson Journal (8.2 [1999]: 24-38. Print).

Another example that exemplifies attention to textual information and publication history can be seen in the first two paragraphs on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Village Blacksmith

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s ballad, “The Village Blacksmith,” was first published in a New York Magazine, The Knickerbocker, in 1840. Shortly thereafter, in 1841, it appeared in Longfellow’s collection; Ballads and Other Poems. The poem takes the reader through the life of a blacksmith in town. Longfellow describes what the blacksmith looks like; describing his “large sinewy hands,” and “his face is like the tan.” Then Longfellow moves to how the blacksmith is “hardworking, well-liked and admired throughout the village” (150). The blacksmith is described as a vague member of Longfellow’s community, but in-fact wrote the ballad in memory of a specific blacksmith ancestor of his; Stephen Longfellow (Ziegler).

The ballad uses an eight-stanza variable rhyme scheme. A simile is used to describe the appearance of the blacksmith; “…The muscles of his brawny arms are strong as iron bands.” Here Longfellow is accentuating the Blacksmith’s abilities and strengths, many of which are unique and desirable among the community. The allure of the blacksmith is fortified through each stanza as Longfellow says only positive and admirable things about the blacksmith. “Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night’s repose. Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught!” (Longfellow 16). Not only does Longfellow describe the blacksmith as a good man but he stresses that the blacksmith is a hard working common man as well. He earns his sleep each night, which in the time of Longfellow is something commendable. The blacksmith is overall painted as a role model for other working people.

(Though this commentary is lacking sufficient further reading as this poem has been written about widely since its publication in the nineteenth century

When I created the American Poetry and Poetics web site, a couple of years ago, Danielle took notes on the qualities of a publishable commentary. She shared her notes with me last week:

How To Write a Commentary On a Poem

Use general information about poet/ poetry
Don’t use “I”
Research enough to know what I’m talking about
It is not a response paper- more information

What is it?
How is it read?
Summarize
Quote poet
What have others said about the poem?
Enhance the reader’s understanding of the poet/poem
Build more of an authority of the poem
Use a writer’s perspective if appropriate
Talk about poem beginning, then middle, then end
Use sources in library
Bring in descriptive terms (couplet, ballad, etc.)

This is a helpful set of notes, though you will need to use the template as well.

Happy reading, and productive writing!

Out of Nature

I went to the summit and stood in the high nakedness:
the wind tore about this
way and that in confusion and its speech could not
get through to me nor could I address it:
still I said as if to the alien in myself
I do not speak to the wind now:
for having been brought this far by nature I have been
brought out of nature
and nothing here shows me the image of myself:
for the word tree I have been shown a tree
and for the word rock I have been shown a rock,
for stream, for cloud, for star
this place has provided firm implication and answering
but where here is the image for longing:
so I touched the rocks, their interesting crusts:
I flaked the bark of stunt-fir:
I looked into space and into the sun
and nothing answered my word longing:
goodbye, I said, goodbye nature so grand and
reticent, your tongues are healed up into their own element
and as you have shut up you have shut me out: I am
as foreign here as if I had landed, a visitor:
so I went back down and gathered mud
and with my hands made an image for longing:
       I took the image to the summit: first
I set it here, on the rock, but it completed
nothing: then I set it there among the tiny firs
but it would not fit:
so I returned to the city and built a house to set
the image in
and men came into my house and said
that is an image for longing
and nothing will ever be the same again

—A. R. Ammons

 

 

 

 

This Compost

1

Something startles me where I thought I was safest,
I withdraw from the still woods I loved,
I will not go now on the pastures to walk,
I will not strip the clothes from my body to meet my lover the sea,
I will not touch my flesh to the earth as to other flesh to renew me.
O how can it be that the ground itself does not sicken?
How can you be alive you growths of spring?
How can you furnish health you blood of herbs, roots, orchards, grain?
Are they not continually putting distemper’d corpses within you?
Is not every continent work’d over and over with sour dead?
Where have you disposed of their carcasses?
Those drunkards and gluttons of so many generations?
Where have you drawn off all the foul liquid and meat?
I do not see any of it upon you to-day, or perhaps I am deceiv’d,
I will run a furrow with my plough, I will press my spade through
the sod and turn it up underneath,
I am sure I shall expose some of the foul meat.

2
Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person–yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noiselessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings while the she-birds sit on
their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear, the calf is dropt from the cow, the
colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk, the lilacs bloom in
the dooryards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata
of sour dead.

What chemistry!
That the winds are really not infectious,
That this is no cheat, this transparent green-wash of the sea which
is so amorous after me,
That it is safe to allow it to lick my naked body all over with its tongues,
That it will not endanger me with the fevers that have deposited
themselves in it,
That all is clean forever and forever,
That the cool drink from the well tastes so good,
That blackberries are so flavorous and juicy,
That the fruits of the apple-orchard and the orange-orchard, that
melons, grapes, peaches, plums, will none of them poison me,
That when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once
catching disease.

Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless
successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings
from them at last.

—Walt Whitman

Poesis / poetics

Poesis: making, building, constructing 

In 2008 I published a reference entry on Ecopoetry that offers a definition and a cursory history of the emergence of a poetry and poetics that takes an ecological stance toward the world. The link will take you to the essay, a survey of the use of the terms in an emerging commentary, a bibliography, and a “Further Reading” section with a range of useful references. The Mason Library has as online text of the entry in Ken Womack, ed., Books and Beyond : The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading.

More recently, my colleague Jonathan Skinner, who teaches at the University of Warwick, compiled a list of statements that maps some coordinates onto the conceptual field of ecopoetics:

Juliana Spahr, from things of each possible relation hashing against one another)

“a poetics full of systemic analysis and critique that questions the divisions between nature and culture while also acknowledging that humans use up too much of the world.”

Jonathan Skinner, from editor’s introduction to ecopoetics 01

“ ‘Eco’ here signals—no more, no less—the house we share with several million other species, our planet Earth. ‘Poetics’ is used as poesis or making, not necessarily to emphasize the critical over the creative act (nor vice versa). Thus: ecopoetics, a house making.”

Jed Rasula, from This Compost

“I would describe poetry as ecology in the community of words.”

Leonard Scigaj from Sustainable Poetry

“Ecopoets ensure that nature retains its status as a separate and equal other through the understanding and respect they accord the operations of nature’s ecosystems in the poems. Ecopoems are not restricted to the laws of human logic and language, for these are regularly shown to be subordinate to the laws of nature’s ecosystems . . . Once completed, an ecopoem becomes a tool for altering the reader’s perceptions from the anthropocentric to the biocentric, and many ecopoems model biocentric behavior. Ecopoems help us to live our lives by encouraging us to understand, respect, and cooperate with the laws of nature that sustain us. Today we very much need sustainable poetry.”

Scott Bryson, from Ecopoetry, “A Critical Introduction”

“Ecopoetry is a subset of nature poetry that, while adhering to certain conventions of romanticism, also advances beyond that tradition and takes on distinctly contemporary problems and issues, thus resulting in a version of nature poetry generally marked by three primary characteristics. The first is an emphasis on maintaining an ecocentric perspective that recognizes the interdependent nature of the world; such a perspective leads to a devotion to specific places and to the land itself, along with those creatures that share it with humankind . . . This awareness of the world as a community tends to produce the second attribute of ecopoetry: an imperative toward humility in relationships with both human and nonhuman nature . . . Related to this humility is the third attribute of ecopoetry: an intense skepticism concerning hyperrationality, a skepticism that usually leads to an indictment of an overtechnologized modern world and a warning concerning the very real potential for ecological catastrophe.”

Terry Gifford, from the essay “Gary Snyder and the Post-Pastoral”

“how can we best address the issue that ecofeminists in particular have helped us understand better—that our exploitation of our environment has emerged from the same mind-set as our exploitation of each other?”

Greg Garrard, from Ecocriticism

“The challenge for ecocritics is to keep one eye on the ways in which ‘nature’ is always in some ways culturally constructed, and the other on the fact that nature really exists, both the object and, albeit distantly, the origin of our discourse.”

David Gilcrest, from Greening the Lyre

“the ecological poem allies itself with ecological science’s complaint against atomistic and mechanistic Newtonian science. In making this appeal, the ecological poem may make use of the precise grammar of ecological science; more often than not, however, the ecological poem reflects a more general sense of ecology . . . Indeed, one of the more interesting characteristics of ecological poetics is the ease with which the ecologized text migrates beyond the boundaries maintained, perhaps heroically, perhaps jealously, by most ecological scientists.”

Donna Dreese, from Ecocriticism: Creating Self and Place in Environmental and American Indian Literatures 

“Ecocriticism, as an activist philosophy, has as one of its primary agendas the reduction of dualistic thinking that has separated the human being from the natural world in Western discourse and practice.”

Forrest Gander, from “What is Eco-Poetry” in Harriet: a blog from the poetry foundation

“Can it display or be invested with values that acknowledge the economy of interrelationship between human and non-human realms? Aside from issues of theme and reference, how might syntax, line break, or the shape of the poem on the page express an ecological ethics? If our perceptual experience is mostly palimpsestic or endlessly juxtaposed and fragmented; if events rarely have discreet beginnings or endings but only layers, duration, and transitions; if natural processes are already altered by and responsive to human observation, how does poetry register the complex interdependency that draws us into a dialogue with the world?

There are, of course, long traditions of the pastoral, poetry centered on nature or landscape, in both Eastern and Western language literature. I, myself, am less interested in “nature poetry”—where nature features as theme—than in poetry, sometimes called eco-poetry, which investigates—both thematically and formally—the relationship between nature and culture, language and perception.”

Jack Collom, from “An Ecosystem of Writing Ideas” in Jack Magazine

“In truth (yes, it still exists), nature is, importantly, everything. It gains flavor from its subsidiary meanings: beauty, wildness, basis-of-life and all their specifics. It gains poignancy through its contradictions. It’s the big matrix; we’re a few dots not only in it but of it. The ‘of’ is what we forget. ‘Of’ is identity of processes. Recognizing ‘of’ is the springboard of love, without which there’s only destruction of ourselves and others. It’s time, and past time, for us to transcend our species’ solipsism, to roll out affect as far as we roll effect. The Jackson Pollock remark, ‘I am nature,’ still has the ring of an outrageous cry. But it’s just an overdue recognition.”

Christopher Arigo, from “Notes Toward an Ecopoetics: Revising the Postmodern Sublime and Juliana Spahr’s This Connection of Everyone with Lungs” in How2

“Thus innovative practices and ecological thinking/being/feeling combine to produce a site of resistance, of politics, of political resistance. Perhaps, given the postmodern world in which we live, a world in which we are fully aware of the interdependence of the body upon its world for its health, a world that is now inextricable from the body, an ecopoetics is an inevitable outcome or byproduct: perhaps poetry as a practice is the best means of directly addressing an environment in crisis. And perhaps this is why it is so difficult to pin down what makes a poem or poet ‘eco’—because the concern insinuates itself into so many elements of the writing, between the lines, in the white spaces, questioning even the paper upon which the poem is printed (if indeed it is actually printed): the paper industry is one of the country’s largest polluters after all. Or maybe it is because the poem itself is an ecology: a microcosmic ecosystem in which itself dwells.”

Marcella Durand, from “The Ecology of Poetry” in ecopoetics 02

“Experimental ecological poets are concerned with the links between words and sentences, stanzas, paragraphs, and how these systems link with energy and matter—that is, the exterior world. And to return to the idea of equality of value, such equalization of subject/object-object/subject frees up the poet’s specialized abilities to associate. Association, juxtaposition, metaphor are how the poet can go further than the scientist in addressing systems. The poet can legitimately juxtapose kelp beds with junkyards. Or to get really technical, reflect the water reservoir system for a large city in the linguistic structure of repetitive water-associated words in a poem. And poets right now are the only scientist-artists who can do these sorts of associations and get away with them—all other disciplines, such as biology, oceanography, or mathematics carry an obligation to separate their ideas into discrete topics. You’re not really allowed to associate your findings about sea-birds nesting on a remote Arctic island with the drought in the West. But as a poet, you certainly can. And you can do it in a way that journalists can’t—you can do it in a way that is concentrated, that alters perception, that permanently alters language or a linguistic structure. Because you as poets are lucky enough to work in a medium that not only is in itself an art, but an art that interacts essentially with the exterior world, with things, events, systems. Through this multi-dimensional aspect of poetry, poets are an essential catalyst for increased perception, and increased change.”

In class on Monday we talked about the taxonomy in the prefatory material in The Ecopoetry Anthology. The editors make distinctions between the nature poem, the environmental poem, and the ecopoem. They discuss the qualities (both formal, and in “stance toward reality,” to use a phrase from the poet Charles Olsen) of all three kinds of poems. They talk about the boundaries and overlaps in practice. And they talk about the potential pitfalls of poems in the taxonomy–sentimentalized anthropomorphism, agenda-driven propaganda, hyperintellectualism and emotional distance or detachment.

We were left with questions, especially about the third grouping, ecological poetry. We are left with the question of ecopoetics. Wednesday we will read and talk about the poems in terms of ecology and poetics. Heather and Kyle, please post on your blogs your thinking about the key terms we are exploring here. The place you end up is important as it will be the place you move from in understanding this poetic field and also the place you begin building your concluding anthology and essay in this course.

Eco- / Ecology

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

—Charles Darwin, from “Recapitulation and Conclusion,” The Origin of Species (1859)

The term ecology has its roots in the Greek oikos (house) and logos (order or knowledge). It has come to name a branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. The concept and term surfaced in the mid-19th century in the study of natural history–most notably in the writings of the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel who defined ecology as the investigation of the relationship of organisms with their environment.

The term broadened in meaning during the 20th century to encompass an emphasis in the sciences on the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms as well as the study of ecosystems. Ecological scientists draw on physics, chemistry, and biology to explain specific phenomena. Its concerns are with organisms, groups of organisms and their interactions, including their interactions with the environment—or the physical, chemical and biological components of an ecosystem.

Our interest is less in the disciplinary field of ecology and more in the social and cultural meanings of the term ecology. Timothy Morton’s recent book The Ecological Thought (2010) reminds us that ecology orients our thinking away from individual things to things in relationship—to interaction and interconnectedness, and to pattern and process. The ecological thought is the thought that follows from this orientation—or, rather, is the orientation itself.

The ecological thought is the irreversible recognition that things exist in relation rather than in isolation. The ecological thought is thinking about the essence of a living thing as an expression of connections and context. The ecological thought is also thinking the beauty and complexity of living systems. Morton’s exposition and analysis of the concept is potentially useful for environmentalists who so often find themselves walking on a bog of moral and conceptual certainty:

The ecological crisis we face is so obvious that it become easy. . .to join the dots and see that everything is interconnected. This is the ecological thought. And the more we consider it, the more the world opens up (1).

We’ve gotten it wrong so far—that’s the truth of the climate disruption and mass extinction (5).

Thinking the ecological thought is difficult: it involves becoming open, radically open—open forever, without the possibility of closing again (8).

The ecological thought is difficult because it brings to light aspects of our existence that have remained unconscious for a long time; we don’t like to recall them (9).

The ecological thought is as much about opening our minds as it is about knowing something or other in particular (15).

A truly scientific attitude means not believing everything you think (16).

If everything is interconnected, there is less of everything. Nothing is complete in itself (33).

The ecological thought is about considering others, in their interests, in how we should act toward them, and in their very being (123).

The ecological thought “forces us to invent ways of being together that don’t depend on self interest. . .the ecological thought can be highly unpleasant” (135).

Things will get worse before they get better, if it all. We must create frameworks for coping with a catastrophe that, from the evidence of hysterical announcements of its immanent arrival, has already occurred (17).

The ecological thought must transcend the language of apocalypse (19).

Tasks and Deadlines

Blog Posts (8) Due Mondays and Wednesdays (weeks 1-4): Before 5 PM post a 500 word discussion of a poem and/or a statement about poetry on your blog. My suggestion is that your post be a working out of a first reading of a poem to be developed into a commentary

Commentaries (4) Due Wednesday May 27, Monday June 1, Monday June 8, Monday June 15. Revised versions will be due any time before the following due date. All four revised commentaries must be submitted by Monday June 22

Anthology (1) A conference with Mark (face-to-face or Google chat) (week 4); A proposal due on Wednesday June 17; The final anthology due Wednesday June 24