The Anthropocene Lyric: An Affective Geography of Poetry, Person, Place

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9781137364746: The Anthropocene Lyric: An Affective Geography of Poetry, Person, Place
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The Anthropocene Lyric is an interdisciplinary extension to studies of space and place. Responding to the cultural and environmental crises the term 'Anthropocene' shoulders, the book's purpose is to pose a single question: how to rethink our place on this planet through poetry. Tom Bristow takes the work of three contemporary poets—John Burnside, John Kinsella and Alice Oswald—to reveal how an environmental poetics of place is of significant relevance for the Anthropocene: a geological marker asking us to think radically of the human as one part of the more-than-human world. This study unpacks the (bio)politics of representation in its emphasis on place perception; it revisits ontological dualism to highlight human and non-human interdependency; and it points towards the idea of Anthropocene emotions, less clearly defined in existing literature. Ultimately, the affective synthesis of people, planet and place invites us to consider a new formation in lyric poetry.

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About the Author:

Tom Bristow is an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He read English Literature at the University of Leicester from 1999–2003 and his PhD was awarded by the University of Edinburgh in 2008. Tom is a member of the Mellon Australian Observatory in the Environmental Humanities research programme, University of Sydney; editor of Philosophy Activism Nature (PAN); and former President of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture, Australia and New Zealand (ASLEC-ANZ).

Review:

"Thomas Bristow brings together the worlds of ecocriticism and cultural geography in a lyrical examination of the self, the dynamism of rapid environmental change and the challenge of the human within the world of the Anthropocene, the geological and metaphorical era where humanity is a biophysical planetary force." Libby Robin, Professor of Environmental History, Australian National University, Australia

"The lyric is, as one scholar puts it, the genre of the other mind. Even when it is about an 'I,' the lyric is never strictly autobiographical, but rather reveals subjectivity as an entity in its own right. In this beautiful study, Thomas Bristow makes this concept massively wider and more physical. Bristow shows that lyric is a deeply ecological mode. Perhaps we had better start calling lyric the genre of the other affect: a non-egocentric, non-localized, more-than-human rippling of sensational energy. This book generously forms all kinds of thoughts and new terms for poetic phenomena we already feel. Bristow brilliantly shows how lyric pricks up its nonhuman ears, sensitized to the drastic geological shift of the Anthropocene and its Sixth Mass Extinction." Timothy Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, Rice University

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