Ecopoetics: Literature and Ecology

A seminar/workshop designed by Jennifer Scappettone, University of Chicago, Winter 2017

Tumblr blog: https://ecopoeticsuchicago.tumblr.com/

This course will explore a range of literary responses to the anthropocene period, understood as the geological age in which the prevailing economic and social paradigms of humans have conditioned changes in climate and the environment. We will read foundational texts in environmental perception and activism (John Ruskin’s “Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century” and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring) in dialogue with modernist work engaging with urban landscapes (William Carlos Williams’s Paterson). We will then open onto a wide range of contemporary texts that engage the natural and constructed environment in crisis. Students will be asked, week by week, to produce short creative pieces in response to an environmental issue or debate that interests them.

Books available for purchase at Seminary Co-Op:

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)—Signet Classic

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)—Mariner

Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)—Penguin

Evelyn Reilly, Styrofoam (2009)—Roof

CA Conrad, Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (2014)Wave

Ed Roberson, To See the Earth Before the End of the World (2015)—Wesleyan, available as e-book

 

Recommended reading:

The Ecopoetry Anthology, eds. Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura-Gray Street

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral, eds. G.C. Waldrep and Joshua Corey

Ecopoetics journal, ed. Jonathan Skinner, available at https://ecopoetics.wordpress.com/

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