Sustainable Poetry: Four American Ecopoets

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Focusing on the work of A.R. Ammons, Wendell Berry, W.S. Merwin, and Gary Snyder, author Leonard Scigaj shows that just as a sustainable society does not depreciate its resource base, so a sustainable poetry does not restrict interest to language. Over the past thirty years many poets have shown an increasing sensitivity to ecological thinking. But critics trained in poststructuralist language theory often fail to explore the substance of ecopoetry. Scigaj is the first to define ecopoetry as separate and distinct from nature or environmental poetry, marked by its concern with balancing the interests of human beings with the needs of nature. Just as science learned that the earth was not the center of the universe, ecopoetry insists on the recognition that humans are not at the center of the natural world.