Monash University
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The Degradation of Land and the Position of Poetry

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-21, 04:59 authored by Martin Harrison
There could be a very long version of this essay, but this will have to be the short version. Occasionally, there will be far too obvious indications of where a much longer, more argued version ought to take over. This version is a short cut. This last remark has to be said with a certain unabashedness because, really, a short cut is something impossible in such a large terrain. The questions I am asking are ones provoked by the almost automatic connection made between poetry and ecological issues, matters to do with the poem and matters of the environment and nature. Is there in fact any reason to make such a connection? Does poetry have any part in the current array of activities necessary to maintain the environment in the face of the new millennium’s pressures of urbanism, of technology, of poverty, of capitalism and population growth? Anyway, how much contemporary Australian poetry is ecological?


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