This article is taken from Stand 223, 17(3) September - November 2019.

Vahni Capildeo Editorial
Stand: The Ecopoetics Issue

The callout for the ecopoetics issue of Stand deliberately refrained from applying a definition of ecopoetics. My intention was to open the magazine to many approaches, creating a shared space resonant with what a range of engaged and imaginative writers themselves put forward as ecopoetic. Any definitions can arise from the reader’s close attention and responses to the work elicited. We asked for poetry, prose, and other forms in which global and local, innovative and informational, ethics and aesthetics, art and activism would not be binaries but spark points, with submissions from disabled, BAME and LGBTQ+ contributors especially welcome. The multifariousness of the contents makes this issue of Stand an ecosystem in itself: imperfect, unstable, beautiful, and breathing.

The word ‘ecosystem’ is offered not because a ‘system’ can be deciphered as functional and/or closed, but to suggest the interwoven yet undomestic. The etymology of ecopoetics, from Greek oikos (home) and poesis (making), is often remarked on as emphasising dwelling and ways of making a dwelling. Why, however, must the human be exceptional or central? Many critiques can be made of what happens when ecopoetics revolves around the history of the term. I would merely like to suggest that unmaking and defamiliarisation are always on a continuum with identification and creation. Two writers in the field whose thinking is especially animating are Harriet Tarlo and Samantha Walton. Their analyses of retrospective canon-formation are helpful in understanding the ‘ecopoetic’ as more and other than an offshoot of the Romantic. In their creative ...
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