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Centre for Ecopoetics


Ecopoetics Reading Group

Nicola Hamer (PGR in ECLS) has set up a reading group for the Centre for Ecopoetics -- a space for thought-provoking conversations, to share work in progress and build community.
It will be held monthly on the 2nd Thursday of each month (the first one on October 12th), 4-5pm in FAB 1.13. We can also arrange a Teams link for anyone who can't get to campus. The sessions will consist of a 45-minute discussion of a chosen text, followed by a brief reading of creative work by one or more of the attendees. The required reading will be kept short, at around 50 pages or less. In the first session, we will discuss an excerpt of Allison Cobb's Plastic, for which a PDF can be provided. All PGTs, PGRs, staff and centre members are welcome.
For more information, please contact Nicola Hamer:

Off Campus

Poetry reading with Carol Watts
Saturday, 29 April, 8pm, 190 Emscote Road, Warwick

Carol WattsLink opens in a new window is a poet whose work is ‘characterised by a deep attentiveness to perception as an aspect of ecological thinking’ (Zoe Skoulding). She has published eleven works of poetry, and often collaborates with others in making and performing, such as with the sound artist Will MontgomeryLink opens in a new window. Her writing attends to lived and often hidden and entangled histories of extraction, migration and community, from weedy marginal land (Dockfield, Equipage 2017) to the planetary (Sundog, Veer 2013 and Where Blue Light Falls, Shearsman, 2018). Her most recent poetry collection KelptownLink opens in a new window (Shearsman, 2020) explored the UK south coast as a hallucinatory and adaptive zone of inundation. She is currently documenting the life of a seasonal pond on London's Blackheath, a place associated over centuries with protest and gatherings.

All welcome! For details, please email Jonathan Skinner: 

Hybrid: on Campus / Online

Dr Nicholas Lawrence, "Everything Changes": Brecht, Benjamin, Adorno"
Wednesday 25 January, 5pm, FAB 3.30

A seminar sponsored by the Warwick Workshop for Interdisciplinary German Studies. If you would like to join via a (low-tech) video link, please email contacts below.


This paper looks at the question of historical last chances through the prism of a 1944 poem by Bertolt Brecht, “Alles wandelt sich [Everything changes],” refracted through related work by two contemporaries, Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, and projected into an afterlife conditioned by altered senses of crisis and catastrophe. Reviewing the theory of historical contingency and opportunity developed by Benjamin, and the method of lyric reading proposed by Adorno, the paper aims to revise the latter’s understanding of a social poetics in which the poem serves as a ‘sundial telling the time of history.’ Instead, it outlines what might be called lyric theory for a warming world, in which, paraphrasing Andreas Malm, we can never read in the heat of the moment, only in the heat of an ongoing past.

All welcome!

For any questions please contact Antonia Hofstätter (
or Christine Achinger (

You can find the WWIGS programme for the spring and summer terms hereLink opens in a new window.


On Campus

Cole Swensen, a talk on Eco-ekphrasis
Tuesday 22 November, 4-5pm, FAB 5.50

Poet Cole Swensen will lead a discussion (with slides) on artwork that addresses ecological issues in obvious as well as oblique ways, including work by artists who have engaged the landscape genre in a fluid manner, so as to put the landscape back into motion, and in doing so, who have found alternatives to some of the presumptions and practices of landscape art common to Euro-centric contexts. Swensen also will address how her own work as a poet engages landscape. The event is free and open to the public.

Suggested reading:
Introduction & essay, "An Argument Against Timeless Art" and "Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Running Fence," from Art in Time
Excerpts from Landscapes on a Train 

Cole Swensen also will be giving a house (poetry) reading on Monday 21 November at 7pm in Warwick.

Please email Jonathan Skinner (address below) for PDFs and/or details about the reading.

Cole Swensen is the author of 17 books of poetry, most recently On Walking On (Nightboat, 2017), a collection of hybrid poem-essays, Art in Time (Nightboat, 2021), and a collection of critical essays, Noise That Stays Noise (U. of Michigan, 2011). Much of her work is related to the visual arts and often addresses landscape and land-use concerns. Her work has been awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize, the S.F. State Poetry Center Book Award, and the National Poetry Series, and has been a finalist twice for the L.A. Times Book Award and once for the National Book Award. A former Guggenheim Fellow, she co-edited the Norton anthology American Hybrid and is the founding editor of La Presse. She has translated over twenty books of French poetry, creative non-fiction, and art criticism, including Jean Frémon's Island of the Dead, which won the 2004 PEN USA Award in Translation. She divides her time between Paris and Providence R.I., where she teaches at Brown University.

For further information on the event, contact Jonathan Skinner: 

On Zoom

Larry Eigner: A Conversation on the Poet in the Context of Disability Aesthetics and Contemporary Poetics

An EMU (Eastern Michigan University) Creative Writing and BathHouse Series Event.

Wednesday, November 9, 5:45-8:00 p.m EST

With Lytle Shaw, Jonathan Skinner, Barrett Watten, and graduate students in the EMU’s Creative Writing Program.

To register use the link here

We welcome you to Join us for Larry Eigner: A Conversation on the Poet in the Context of Disability Aesthetics and Contemporary Poetics. The conversation will take place via Zoom (register here) in the Contemporary Forms: Disability Aesthetics classroom. The event is hosted by Professor Carla Harryman and Creative Writing graduate students. “Disability Aesthetics” suggests the critical study and engagement with mid-to-late-twentieth century and twenty-first- century “experimental” literature, performance, and interdisciplinary art produced by authors living with disabilities and/or nondisabled makers whose works initiate nonnormative critical perspectives on experiences of the body, culture, social space, imagination, language, discourse, and genre.

Larry Eigner (1927-1996) is considered a principal figure of the Black Mountain School and New American Poetry. From the early 1970s forward, he was also influential among Language poets. Born with cerebral palsy, Eigner used a wheelchair throughout his life and typed his works with one finger, producing a substantial body of writings comprised of over forty books of poetry, a collection of stories, and correspondence with writers and publishers across generations and communities. In 2010, his poetry books were gathered in The Collected Poetry of Larry Eigner: Vols. 1-4, edited by Curtis Faville and Robert Grenier. The three presenters in this EMU BathHouse Event dedicated to Eigner’s writing are poet-artist-critics whose scholarship on Larry Eigner represent cutting edge reflections on his poetry, demonstrating the reach of Eigner’s poetics in current discussions of ecopoetics, disability, authorship, and technologies of media and sound.

The first critical address to Eigner’s poetics, “Missing X,” appeared in Total Syntax, Barrett Watten’s 1985 collection on poetics, which draws from Russian Formalism toward “a new value for writing in the present.” It wasn’t until fifteen years later that other critical writing on Eigner began to appear. Since the turn of the century, Eigner’s work has been substantively addressed in works of critical disabilities theory, cultural studies, ecopoetics, and emerging discourses of embodiment, technology, and authorship, including Michael Davidson’s Concerto for the Left Hand (2008) and presenter Lytle Shaw’s work on the poetics of sound and radio technology in Narrow Cast: Poetry and Audio Research (2018). Essays on Eigner by presenters Jonathan Skinner, a poet-critic and founder of the journal ecopoetics, and Barrett Watten, a poet-critic and editor of Eigner’s Country/Harbor/Quiet/Act/Around: Selected Prose, appear in the first book dedicated to Eigner’s writing, Momentous Inconclusions: The Life and Work of Larry Eigner (2020), edited by Jennifer Bartlett and George Hart.

Presenter Bios:

Lytle Shaw is the author of Narrow Cast: Poetry and Audio Research (2018), with a chapter devoted to Larry Eigner’s poetics. His publications include Cable Factory 20 (1999), The Lobe (2002), Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (2007), Fieldworks: From Place to Site in Postwar Poetics (2013) and Narrowcast: Poetry and Audio Research (2018). Since 2011, Shaw has been at work on The Posthuman Comedy, a series of site-specific experimental prose works, each of which uses a small collection of artworks or buildings to focalize an alternative history of a single country. Shaw teaches literature at New York University and theory at the School of Architecture, University of Limerick.

Jonathan Skinner is a poet, editor, translator, and critic known for founding the journal ecopoetics. He writes at the intersection of poetry, ecology, activism, landscape and sound studies and has written on Eigner from the perspective of sonic environments. His poetry collections and chapbooks include Chip Calls (Little Red Leaves, 2014), Birds of Tifft (BlazeVOX, 2011), Warblers (Albion Books, 2010), and Political Cactus Poems (Palm Press, 2005). He has published numerous essays at the intersection of poetry, ecology, activism, landscape and sound studies. Skinner teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick.

Barrett Watten is the author of The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Poetics (2004) and Questions of Poetics: Language Writing and Consequences (2016), as well as poetry including Frame (1971–1990), Bad History, Progress/Under Erasure, and Zone (1973–2021). In the 1970s, he edited the literary magazine This, in which he frequently published work by Eigner. In 1978, Watten edited, under the This Press imprint, Country/Harbor/Quiet/Act/ Around: Selected Prose, which remains in print. He maintained extensive correspondence with Eigner, which is archived and available to scholars. Watten teaches at Wayne State University.

FALL 2021

Approaches to Eco-translation, 5-7pm 25 November 2021 

WBS Teaching Centre, M2Link opens in a new window (on-campus event, livestream TBC)

A mini-symposium/ roundtable and discussion withJennifer Scappetone, Daniel Eltringham, and Zoë Skoulding

“What the Canary Said: From Opacity to Shimmer in Argots of the Copper Lyre”  

Jennifer ScappettoneLink opens in a new window’s current cross-genre book project tracks the expansive, yet largely obscured networks of mining, refinement, and salvage undergirding copper extraction economies across global resource networks and commodity frontiers to develop the concept of a critical geopoetics, arguing for the value of routing research into geology, labor history, infrastructure studies, and industrial heritage through poetic composition as a means of rendering polyphonic the origins and far-reaching environmental consequences of the global network. Through the image of the “copper lyre”—an imagined yoking of telecommunicative infrastructure to forge a poetically resonant instrument—it explores the ability of lyrical forms to sound the subdued externalities of the so-called global village by making visible, and literally by “airing,” material archaeologies eclipsed by the etherealized image of the cloud. Scappettone will close by presenting strains of her recent poetry and installation work that explore what’s missing from Anglocentric frameworks of environmental humanities and activism: both possibilities for cross-cultural solidarity enabled by wide-ranging translation practices among workers of the world and the wisdom roused by opening to languages outside one’s province and species of mastery.”

“Creaturely Insurgence: Liberation Ecopoetics in Translation” 

Daniel EltringhamLink opens in a new window: What might be the tentative contours of a translingual liberation or "guerrilla" ecopoetics? I suggest tracking the movements of such militant ecologies in translation networks that bridge Latin American decolonial struggle and Anglophone small-press poetries, spreading solidarity that extends to the more-than-human lifeworlds of rural guerrilla insurgency. I will discuss creaturely insurgence in poems by three guerrilla poets, none of whom survived the 1960s: Che Guevara’s vengeful green caiman as an emblem of more-than-human liberation; Javier Heraud’s buzzing fly as a vector of resistance to counter-insurgency's targeting of ecological reproduction; and Rita Valdivia’s poetry of militant kin-making, which expands the creaturely beyond species-distinctions. In “eco-translation” (Cronin 2016), the belated, uneven movements these texts make from material environments of struggle to textual spaces responsive to the theoretical concerns of ecopoetics provide a medium for thinking biosemiotic entanglements in transcultural and -historical ways. But to propose a "translational" guerrilla ecopoetics confronts Anglophone environmental traditions with the intertwined emergencies of decolonial struggle and the unevenly distributed consequences of contemporary earth-systems breakdown, suggesting juster interweavings of language and world.

“Birds of North America: Birdsong and the Borders of Language” 

Zoë SkouldingLink opens in a new window: Birdsong, although often drowned out by human activity, is a widespread aural experience of other species as well as a gauge of ecological change. With reference to ideas about translation and relation drawn from Walter Benjamin and Édouard Glissant, as well as Karen Barad's comments on how the world makes itself 'differentially intelligible', this talk will attend to the insistent presence of birds in contemporary US poetry, exploring its relationship to languages and borders in colonial and neocolonial contexts. Don Mee Choi’s ‘Sky Translation’ in DMZ Colony juxtaposes the initially baffling noise of American snow geese with the heavily militarized frontier between North and South Korea, using it to explore the border between language, sound and image. While Nathaniel Mackey’s ‘Song of the Andoumboulou: 285’ riffs off the medieval Persian poet Farīd al-Dīn Aṭṭār to imagine ‘the birds we were or the birds we’d be’ as a potential future for humans rooted in ancient song, Layli Long Soldier’s references to dead or absent birds, from her Oglala Lakota perspective, mark points of political resistance. Drawing attention both to the multiplicity of human languages and to non-semantic sound, birds and birdsong bring to the poem a call to new forms of ecological awareness.

Each panelist will give a 20-minute talk, followed by a short break, responses from the panelists, and discussion with the audience.

Spaces are limited!​ Please RSVP to Jonathan Skinner:

An event co-sponsored by the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, the Institute of Advanced StudyLink opens in a new window, and the Environmental Humanities NetworkLink opens in a new window.