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Recomposing Ecopoetics

North American Poetry of the Self-Conscious Anthropocene
Lynn Keller

BUY Cloth · 304 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813940618 · $65.00 · Jan 2018
BUY Paper · 304 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813940625 · $29.50 · Jan 2018
BUY Ebook · 304 pp. · ISBN 9780813940632 · $65.00 · Jan 2018

In the first book devoted exclusively to the ecopoetics of the twenty-first century, Lynn Keller examines poetry of what she terms the "self-conscious Anthropocene," a period in which there is widespread awareness of the scale and severity of human effects on the planet. Recomposing Ecopoetics analyzes work written since the year 2000 by thirteen North American poets--including Evelyn Reilly, Juliana Spahr, Ed Roberson, and Jena Osman--all of whom push the bounds of literary convention as they seek forms and language adequate to complex environmental problems. Drawing as often on linguistic experimentalism as on traditional literary resources, these poets respond to environments transformed by people and take "nature" to be a far more inclusive and culturally imbricated category than conventional nature poetry does. This interdisciplinary study not only brings cutting-edge work in ecocriticism to bear on a diverse archive of contemporary environmental poetry; it also offers the environmental humanities new ways to understand the cultural and affective dimensions of the Anthropocene.


Lynn Keller has written a brilliant account of the dynamics between poetic form and the most critical environmental issues of our time. This is essential reading for students and scholars of the environmental humanities at large.

Rob Nixon, Princeton University, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor

" Recomposing Ecopoetics is smart, illuminating, timely, and challenging in all the right ways. Ecocriticism and poetry studies need a book like this, which carefully and persuasively demonstrates the power and relevance of experimental, environmental poems in our troubled age of the Anthropocene."

Scott Knickerbocker, The College of Idaho, author of Ecopoetics: The Language of Nature, the Nature of Language

One of the pleasures of reading Recomposing Ecopoetics comes from periodically revisiting poets, like Gander, Reilly, and Spahr, who recur throughout the chapters. Keller’s willingness to return to familiar figures suggests that neither their poetry nor its ecological significance is exhausted by her readings. Keller constructs, rather than extracts, a corpus.

Los Angeles Review of Books

About the Author: 

Lynn Keller is Martha Meier Renk-Bascom Professor of Poetry and Bradshaw Knight Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the author, most recently, of Thinking Poetry: Readings in Contemporary Women’s Exploratory Poetics.

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