Panel 3: Poetry Reading: Ecopoets on Urban Wildness

Modératrice/Chair: Pascale Amiot, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France

> David Lloyd, Le Moyne College, USA: “On Human and Nonhuman Intersections in Suburban and Urban Environments: A Poetry Reading with Commentary”

> Karen Houle, Université de Guelph, Canada: “The Grand River Watershed, a Folk Ecology: A Poetry Reading with Commentary”

David Lloyd

“On Human and Nonhuman Intersections in Suburban and Urban Environments: A Poetry Reading with Commentary”

I am a poet and critic with a long-term interest in how poets and poems relate to environmental and political concerns. I am delighted that this year’s conference continues the practice of the 2016 Ecopoetics Perpignan conference of welcoming proposals for poetry readings and other creative formats.

In keeping with the conference theme of “Reenchanting Urban Wildness: To Perceive, Think and Live with Nature in its Urban Environment,” I propose to read poems from my published books, those recently published in eco-journals (such as Blueline, Cold Mountain Review, and The Hopper), and new unpublished poems that relate to my presentation topic, “On Intersections of the Human and nonHuman in Suburban and Urban Environments.” My poem selection for the 2019 conference will focus on elements of Nature familiar to suburban and urban dwelling humans, especially in North America. Particular poems take as subjects varieties of trees, wildflowers, garden flowers, “weeds” (dandelions, thistles), squirrels, deer, mice, ants, hawks, song birds, crows, wild turkeys, turkey vultures, raptors (hawks, owls), domestic pets, insects (ants, termites, spiders), wild mammals (bats, fox, coyote). The poems present these varied elements of Nature in relation to the observing human but also on their own terms as alien, “other,” independent life forms comfortable in (or increasingly adaptable to) environments radically altered by human activity.

I propose to supplement the poetry reading with commentary on the particular challenges this subject brings for a poet, including problematic representations of boundaries between humans and the wild, the complex dangers of anthropomorphizing, and the limits of human language for expressing nonhuman life. This presentation could be part of an academic or a creative panel.

David Lloyd directs the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, USA. He is the author of ten books, including a 2018 collection of short fiction, The Moving of the Water (SUNY Press). His other books include a novel, Over the Line, three poetry collections (Warriors, The Gospel According to Frank, and The Everyday Apocalypse), and a fiction collection, Boys: Stories and a Novella. In 2000, he received the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award, judged by W. D. Snodgrass. His articles, interviews, poems, and stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, and TriQuarterly.

Karen Houle

Karen Houle is a full professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph.  She has formal training (degrees) in the natural sciences (biology & chemistry) and the human sciences (philosophy). Her fields of expertise are: 20th-century French thought, ecosophy, ecopoetics, post-humanist ethics and politics. Karen Houle is the author of more than forty refereed articles published in international scholarly journals and anthologies. She is the co-editor of two collections: a groundbreaking anthology on classical ethics and reanimating ethical thinking & pedagogy (Minor Ethics: Deleuzian Variations, forthcoming in summer 2019); and Hegel and Deleuze: Together again for the First Time (2016, with J. Vernon). Houle has also written a philosophical monograph on complexity theory and ethical complexity titled Responsibility, Complexity and Abortion (2014). She has translated the writings of French percussionist and cultural theorist, Le Quan Ninh (from French to English) Improvising Freely: The ABC’s on an Experience; and is the author of 3 books of poetry, including Ballast (2000, House of Anansi), During (2005, Gaspereau Press) and The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology (forthcoming April 2019, Gaspereau Press). Karen Houle is currently apprenticing on an urban organic farm in Canada.


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