I still think artists are having much more success tackling environmental issues than poets are. Non-fiction writers too for that matter: David Abram, Bill McKibben, here at home Charlotte Gill perhaps. Or, as Darren Wershler Tweeted recently, quoting Lisa Gitelman, “there is no Shakespeare of climatology”: only premodern science has authors in that sense
Here’s an excerpt from my piece on Dennis Lee over on Harriet last week:
What happens when language fails to comfort? This dedication to seeing the thing through, even as one feels loss, or one feels pained by the process, is admirable. And it’s likely how we get to such a fresh approach to speaking about the planet. Christian Bök quotes Lee in his review of yes/no here on Harriet a while back: “it isn’t enough just to speak about the pressure we’ve put on the earth; language itself was under the same pressure, and I had to listen as intently as I could, to discern the new forms it was taking.” There is a deep relationship between language and nature, but also between language and the destruction of nature and of our world. There is a need for equally deep listening by us. How to undo the knot?
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