Queer ecopoetics : contemporary American poetry in these scandals of time




Train, Emma Juliette

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This dissertation establishes the urgent political stakes of reading environmental poetry through queer epistemologies. The heteronormative visions of future life that often tacitly shape how we read environmental poems rely on patriarchal logics that offer limited resources for an ethics of living in our precarious material present. I argue that queer poets offer a rich archive for theorizing alternatives to these normative models of time and of anthropocentric life. In constellating the three discourses that animate my dissertation (ecocriticism, queer studies, and poetic theory) around shared theoretical questions regarding futurity, reproduction, and beyond-human relationality, I illustrate how contemporary environmental discourses regarding human reproduction and (non)human futures cannot be extricated from anti-racist and feminist interrogations of gender and sexuality. Through theoretically-situated close readings of formally-inventive poems, I articulate the significance of experimental and mixed-genre verse to a long history of American postwar ecopoetry. Contemporary queer poets use these experimental forms and structures, I argue, to reconceptualize time (as well as what it means to be human) by producing capacious models of agency and voice.



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