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George Ttoouli

Research Interests

Academic

My research area is, broadly speaking, the development of the poetic series in the twentieth century, within an ecocritical context. The aim is to investigate the value of this particular formal postmodern innovation to ecological thinking through an examination of its development and deployment in the twentieth century to the present.

The project is clearly too big for a single thesis, and is beginning to separate into three (potentially four) projects. The first focuses on North American serial poetics and ecopoetics in Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson, Robin Blaser and Susan Howe. The second will focus on the UK, where the particulars of place and tradition (the absence, for example, of the 'frontier' as a structural operand, with, instead, a battle between commons and private land shaping land relations; and an emphasis on the 'journey poem') need thorough consideration. Basil Bunting, Peter Riley and Maggie O'Sullivan form the core of this facet to the project, but this will expand further.

And finally, I have increasingly leaned toward 'third nature' and world-literary systems as a way of exploring ecoserial patterns beyond a Western-centric focus. Current case study plans for this third project include Kamau Brathwaite, Cecilia Vicuna, M NourbeSe Philip, John Anderson and Arun Kolatkar, as well as a consideration of flarf and conceptual poetry's use of extra-human agencies in poetic generation.

A chapter on Peter Riley's Alstonefield: a poem is forthcoming in Peter Riley: Critical Essays ed. Amy Cutler and Alex Latter (Gylphi Press, 2015).

Creative Writing

My first poetry collection is Static Exile (2009). Most recent editorial project is The Apple Anthology (2013), co-edited with Yvonne Reddick.

I have a novel manuscript completed and a second poetry collection. Poems recently placed with Under the Radar, Poetry Wales, Tears in the Fence and The Clearing, as well as in academic locations such as Dandelion Journal (4.2 Winter 2013), La questione romantica (3.2 April 2014).

A series extract, 'Parchment Scalpel Rock: Stratigraphical Economics,' appeared in MAP: Poems After William Smith's Geological Map of 1815 ed. Michael McKimm (Worple Press, April 2015).

Thesis Overview

Ecopoetics and Serial Form

I am in my final year of investigating the development of serial form through a 'fourth-wave' ecocritical optic, with an emphasis on material ecopoetics in US experimental poetries.

The project tracks the development of serial form in relation to writing place and ecology. Beginning with Lorine Niedecker as 'proto-serial', I then progresses through the pivot of Charles Olson's Maximus, which straddles an inconsistent poetics between modernist epic and postmodern long-form poem. The representation of Gloucester as an economic zone of depression, and Olson's attempt to explain history, is troubled by serial structural devices that disrupt the clarity of vision and allow alternative perspectives, versions of historical, factual and fictional narratives, and poetic modes, to jostle each other out of a vertical hierarchy.

Serial form then develops more fully with the San Francisco Renaissance. I choose to focus on Robin Blaser, as the most ecologically-grounded poet of a trio that includes Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. His emphasis on writing rural place (Idaho, Vancouver) and using a non-urban analogy to understand his poetic praxis (the 'Holy Forest') sets him apart from Spicer and Duncan. The chapter examines the whole of The Holy Forest, with an emphasis on particular series-within-series: 'The Park', and selections from the Image-Nations.

The final chapter examines Susan Howe's Souls of the Labadie Tract. Howe's primarily urban, human-centric poetry rarely accommodates extra-human elements, let alone agency. Yet the series offers structural strategies that build toward a mode of ecological thinking, or ecopraxis, extending in particular Olson's and Blaser's practice in relation to writing place and material experience.

Biog

George Ttoouli taught for the Warwick Writing Programme from 2002 to 2014, including as an Honorary Teaching Fellow from 2008 onwards. In that time he has taught modules at undergraduate and masters levels, including on all core modules for the BA in English Literature & Creative Writing, and supervising numerous final year creative dissertations.

He has been a visiting lecturer at Sheffield Hallam (MA Art-Writing module), the Royal College of Art (MA Text-Art) and has delivered workshops for the Oxford University Poetry Society, on sound poetry and Cavafy. He has taught in Singapore, India and Botswana through the International Gateway for Gifted Youth and with the stipend from a 2010 commendation in the Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence.

He is a freelance writer and editor, currently working for the Poetry Archive (2013-present). Previous roles include reviews and general editorial for poetry magazines online and in print, managing small press publishing house The Heaventree Press. He has made various contributions of critical and creative writing to journals in the UK, US and Europe, with an emphasis on contemporary poetry.

He co-edits Gists and Piths with Simon Turner, an experiment in poetry e-zining (currently dormant, until thesis is complete). His debut collection of poetry, Static Exile, was published in November 2009 and a second, from Animal Illicit, currently looking for a home. Most recently he co-edited The Apple Anthology with Dr. Yvonne Reddick (Nine Arches Press, 2013).

In his second year of doctoral study he received an HRC Joint Doctoral Award with Chris Maughan to host a conferece, 'Planetary Cancer: Growth, Economy and Culture in an Era of Climate Catastrophe', with keynote by Jason W Moore. He received an AHRB grant for his MA in Writing, 2002-3, and is funding by the WPRSS for his doctoral research.

George Ttoouli

George Ttoouli

g dot ttoouli at warwick dot ac dot uk