Writing about Nature: poets and the non-human: John Clare, William Wordsworth, Seamus Heaney, Steve Ely.

Poetry Owl

Awareness of climate change and the growth of ecocritical theory have placed a new value on poetry which foregrounds the non-human.This may lead to the revaluation of past writings about nature or to the emergence of conscious attempts to acknowledge non-human forms or beings as themselves rather than as appendages or furnishings for the human perspective.Fundamentally, however, we, as humans, continue to impose our own views, needs and ways of understanding on the world around us, although our ways of representing that world may be changing with changes in our knowledge.

One wing of ecocriticism links the ecological battle to other struggles against oppression and for social justice as expressed in feminism, post -colonialism and LGBTQ+ theory. This alignment of the environment with other ‘victim’ categories, has led to an upgrade in the status of the poet, John Clare, who has become a favourite of ecocritics, perhaps at the expense…

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