Abstract from NYU Shanghai Faculty Lecture, based on talk given at Fudan University, on poetry, poetics and the Anthropocene. I remain unconvinced in my own work, by my own work, and of it, and that’s perhaps the point, the point that can only be to keep working:
In The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, recent visiting lecturer Amitav Ghosh borrows a term from Timothy Morton to argue that events like climate change constitute “hyperobjects,” networked entities that too extensive spatially and temporally for our existing ways thinking and writing to comprehend adequately. Recent literary fiction, Ghosh argues, fails to engage with the new realities of anthropogenic climate change. This presentation extends Ghosh’s line of questioning to contemporary poetry and the Anthropocene, moving toward establishing a provisional historical and theoretical framework for a “poetics of the anthropocene” with examples drawn from contemporary poetry, including several of my own recent pieces, most notably “Hello 2015” and other work featured in my recent publication Expat Taxes.