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Recent and relevant scholarly publications


Ecopoetics and the Myth of Motivated Form

Close Reading the Anthropocene, ed. Helena Feder (Routledge, 2021)

I A Richards was one of the progenitors of practical criticism and close reading of literature. One of the failings, or ‘difficulties’, he identified in readers was a belief that poetic form could have effects independent of the semantic content of the poem. We review examples of support for what it calls ‘the myth of motivated form’ in ecopoetics alongside critiques of this view. We undertake close readings of two poems in which form and content are indissociable, and conclude with an argument for the importance of close reading within the eco-literacy curriculum.


Toward a Migrant Ecocriticism

Latag: Essays in Philippine Literature, Culture and the Environment, 2019

Toward a Migrant Ecocriticism is a proposal for a critical lens that predominantly uses postcolonial ecocriticism and ecocosmopolitanism to address the new environmental cultures constructed out of the visible and invisible migrancies brought about by social, political, economical, and environmental causes. Recent catastrophes like the almost total wipeout of Tacloban City by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating wildfires in British Columbia, Canada have resulted in humanitarian crises that have forced the movement of migrants from area to area; thus, this lens aims to shed light on these situations of precarity and instability via a chiasmic organization of disaster ecopoetry from Canada and the Philippines. It also attempts to interrogate colonial systems within these two countries, as well as the imperial debris that tie their ruins and ruinations together. A Migrant Ecocriticism seeks to ask questions such as: What can the migrant’s point of view allow us to see in today’s global human and non-human environmental crises? This framework proposes to answer such questions by comparing ecopoetry from both countries to analyse these marginalised points of view: a poet, a migrant, a survivor.


Kung Saan Nagtatapos o Humahantong ang Ilog Boac

Katipunan ng mga Pag-aaral sa Wika, Panitikan, Sining at Kulturang Filipino: Ekokritisismo, 2019

Binabalikan ng papel ang mga alaala ng may-akda ng kanyang kabataan at ilang pagbisita sa Marinduque upang pag-aralan ang naganap na sakunang pagtagas ng lason ng minahan sa Ilog Boac dala ng mga gawang pagmimina ng Marcopper Mining Corporation. Susuriin ng papel ang mga hangganan ng postkolonyal na ekokritisismo at eko-kosmopolitanismo upang makahanap ng angkop na balangkas teoretikal na maaaring magamit para sa isang ekokritika na lumalampas sa mga hangganang pambansa at estado, upang harapin ang mga usapin ng katarungang panlipunan at pangkalikasan nang lampas pa sa pagkakakilanlang nakabatay sa lugar tungo sa kritika ng mga hangganan. Nakapaloob ang papel sa balangkas ng pag-unawa na nagmumula sa personal na karanasang diasporiko ng may-akda, partikular sa ugnayan ng Canada at Pilipinas, na hindi naman talaga nakabatay sa kolonyal na kasaysayan ang ugnayan, kundi sa ideolohiya ng globalisasyon. (Isinalin ni Alvin B. Yapan.)


Living Limestones and the Move to Refuse Resilience

Introduction to Sustaining the Archipelago, 2018

Often described as "resilient," the Philippines has weathered storm after storm in its archipelago of roughly seven thousand islands. Every year, as lives are devastated by the almost quarterly onslaught of natural disasters, the solutions to sustaining the Philippine environment may not be in its people's "resilience," but in a paradigm shift that can be ignited through the ecological literacy of Philippine ecopoetry. Using selected ecopoems from the first anthology of Philippine ecopoetry entitled "Sustaining the Archipelago," this paper will interrogate how these ecopoems are defining and redefining what an archipelago is in local literature through the concept of "living limestones." Here, the archipelagic landscape of the Philippines will be mapped out through its poetry, and will be used in the attempt to answer the following questions: First, what is life in an archipelago? Second, what is the ecological literacy of the archipelago's ecopoetry? Third, what can living in an archipelago teach the world about sustainability? In doing so, ecopoetry contributes to democratizing literature not only for human beings, but for all species here and everywhere else.


The Germination of Ecological Literacy in a Third World Nation

Environment and Pedagogy in Higher Education, 2018

The Third World nation of the Philippines, a country rich with both natural resources and disasters, has produced a strong body of ecopoems which mirror and discuss the various environmental situations of the country, such as endangerment of species, forest depletion, environmental justice and more. However, the question still remains: Can these ecopoems be more than mere words on paper and become tools in coming up with sustainable ideas and solutions to prevent the environmental degradation of a developing country? This paper explores the concept of ecological literacy, which is the union of three different fields: literature, science, and education. Ecological literacy is unifying the writer’s literariness and ecological knowledge to produce a body of work which understands the local environment and educates readers of the human and nonhuman interrelationship within it to motivate ideas of creating sustainable communities here on earth. Ecological literacy in ecopoetry can pave the way for a more critical/concrete perception of ecocriticism in the Third World and a stronger link among the three aforementioned fields in the environmental debate. Furthermore, ecological literacy may equip young learners with the capability of conceptualizing the idea of sustainability, which in turn can be actions and steps toward saving the earth; it may also provide a more concrete link in using ecopoems to inspire and ingrain sustainability in readers. Thus, ecocriticism and environmental literature have contributed to the alleviation of the environmental crises by being the voices of the unheard communities and their environments, and by creating a platform where literature can be utilised for scientific and educational purposes. More importantly, this project also paves the way for other ecocritical frameworks in the Third World, where it is imperative to heed the call of environmental destruction and degradation.


Who is the monster of us all? Teaching sustainability through the ecopoetry of the Philippines

Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 2016

The Philippines is replete with mythological tales about monsters which prey on human beings. Yet, how many of these monsters stem from our unawareness of the environment and those that inhabit it with us? This essay explores the widening gap between the humans and non-humans in the Philippines and speculates on how literature may intervene in this issue. Using the selected ecopoetry of two Filipino writers in English as basis for analysis, this paper proposes an understanding of ‘species interrelationship’ as a concept in the ecological literacy of the third world. ‘Species interrelationship’ in ecopoetry will attempt to address the concerns of the representation of animals in Filipino culture and to discuss how the aforementioned concept is a useful educational tool in promoting sustainability in the third world.


Dismantling Disaster, Death, and Survival in Philippine Ecopoetry

Kritika Kultura, 2016

The Philippines, a country situated close to the equator and in the Pacific Ring of Fire, has been constantly hit by natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and more. With a good number of local poetry dealing with these natural disasters as themes, is it possible for ecopoetry to provide readers with clear ideas on how to survive these catastrophic events? The major objective of this study is to explore the role of literature in promoting survival through the exploration of death and disaster in poetry. To do this, the different versions of disaster in the poetry of Merlie Alunan and Abercio V. Rotor are analyzed using the concept of “dismantling.” Dismantling involves surfacing the “scars of history” in poetry to create an ambience of disaster, which will link the dismantling of the (inside) feelings of the human being with the (outside) physical experience to clear a space for survival. Here, ecopoetry serves as a catalyst for sustainable thoughts which can be calls to action for preventing future disasters. Moreover, ecopoetry is also a “witness to history” wherein writing about disasters is acknowledged as an act of surviving, conquering trauma, and providing a personal perspective to historical survival accounts. Ecopoetry, then, is also demonstrated as a “time capsule” of certain tragedies – one that may be more accurate than memory can ever be.

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