What Is Ecopoetry?

Because I don't teach, I feel as if the term ecopoety snuck up on me. What exactly is ecopoetry, and what makes a poet an ecopoet? What is the difference between ecopoetry and nature poetry? I'm guessing it's a connectedness to the natural world, but with a sense of responsibility. Is the focus solely on environmental issues? I wonder if most of the poetry in this genre is negative (the world is in bad shape and it's your fault) or positive (we can save the earth). This is an oversimplification, I know.

So, which poets are writing in this vein? And, can you recommend poems or non-critical articles/book on the topic? I know of the book Earth's Body: An Ecopoetry Anthology, which I believe is forthcoming. Any others?



Yesterday, the area north of Boston experienced a four-hour power outage. Happened right when I got home from work. So I scooped up the kids and went to the mall for dinner. I've entertained the kids during a power outage before and it's a lot of work. Electricity came on just before 10 p.m. after the kids went to bed.

Reading by candlelight, I felt as if I was going back to nature temporarily.


Tonight, I'm going to a Q&A with Terrance Hayes. Should be very cool. Pictures to come.


Maureen said…
Check out Poets for Living Waters:

January said…
I should have mentioned that I know Poets for Living Waters (and have work out to them), which is particular to 2010. But I think the genre has been around for about 20 years.
Jennifer Jean said…
you're right about eco-poetry being around for awhile--i took an undergrad class on the topic in 1995 and the grandaddy of the course, and in our huge study anthology, was the rather long-lived/prolific Gary Snyder (who is associated with Black Mountain poetry, but that could be because of proximity to a region/movement and close friendships--and not ness. due to a certain common "style" or "topic").

i really like your definitions--they're clear not simple.

as for poets, Brenda Hillman's books Cascadia and Pieces of Air in the Epic are (not only "experimental" but are also) examples of eco-poetry. other poets could be: Joy Harjo and even Mary Oliver.
Jeannine said…
You could also check out the journal "Ecotone."
Brian Simoneau said…
I recommend Ecotone too. It's one my favorite journals these days, and not just for the poetry. They've been publishing some great essays and short fiction too.

Also Orion magazine, though they only include four or five poems per issue.

Online, you should definitely check out terrain.org if you haven't already.
January said…
Thanks Jennifer, Jeannine, and Brian.

Haven't heard if Ecotone, Orion, or terrain.org so thanks for the suggestions.

Jennifer, thanks for listing the poets.

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