PhD Project: Ecocriticism’s address of issues surrounding human and nonhuman relationships.

Funding: Reading Regional Bursary

Supervisors: Professor Steven Matthews, Dr Yasmine Shamma (Reading).

display of book spines, poetry of Wallace Stevens

My PhD considers ecocriticism’s address of issues surrounding human and nonhuman relationships. Christopher Manes, in ‘Nature and Silence’ (1996), argues that shifts from spoken language to writing paved the way for anthropocentric Western thinking, leading to current epistemological divisions between human and world. Language and text are therefore implicated in the instigation and development of the current ecological crisis. Drawing on these thematic and rhetorical issues, I intend to apprehend this shift in a revisionist reading of Wallace Stevens’s poetry, essays, and letters. Even as one of the most well-read American poets, Stevens remains overlooked in the field of ecocriticism. With this project, I seek to re-evaluate Stevens’s writing to resituate him within the field of ecopoetics.

I ask the following questions in relation to Stevens’s work and the literary entanglements with the ecological crisis:

  • How do readers and writers recognise and communicate non-human voices through an inherently anthropocentric communication system?
  • Can poetry help to create an alternate path towards a more ecologically sustainable world?
  • Can ecocritics overcome the literary and linguistic entanglement at the base of the ecological crisis?
  • Can the human voice truly be decentred via written text, and if so, how?
  • How does linguistic sound in poetry create meaning beyond human forms of communication?

 Twitter: @DomoniqueWrites