Nature, Environment and Poetry : Ecocriticism and the Poetics of Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes
The environmental challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century are not only acute and grave, they are also unprecedented in kind, complexity and scope. Nonetheless, the political response to problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss and widespread pollution continues to fall short. To address the environment of the Anthropocene it seems clear that we need new ways of thinking about the relationship between humans and nature, local and global, and present and future. One place to look for such new ideas is poetry, designed to challenge established modes of thinking, imagine the unimaginable, and evoke responses that are based on something more than scientific consensus and rationale.
This ecocritical book traces the environmental sensibilities of two Anglophone poets; Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), and British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes (1930-1998). It follows how their respective developing poetics respond to the accelerating environmental crises of the 20th century, analysing how they address relationships between language and ecology, nature and nation, human and animal. While both have been well-studied by critical thinkers before, this book reads their poems afresh for their understandings of local places and global crises in the century of the environment.
This innovative book is aimed at students of environment and literature or, more broadly, the environmental humanities, as well as to anyone with an interest in the poetics of Ted Hughes or Seamus Heaney.