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The S.L.o.T. Features Ted Rees: ‘Some Notes Regarding the Nature Poem…’

By Harriet Staff


Timeless, Infinite Light (publisher of spells for the unraveling of capitalism, such as Amy Berkowitz’s Tender Points, Zoe Tuck’s Terror Matrix, and Paul Ebenkamp’s The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen) has recently started a new blog called The S.L.o.T., so-called after The Second Law of Thermodynamics, engaged with entropy and work. The S.L.o.T. began with writings by Brittany Billmeyer-Finn, it has since moved on to work by Ted Rees. His first essay explores nature poetry, by way of Jasmine Gibson’s writings. Subscribe! Read on:

1. I’d like to assert that the ‘nature poem,’ or at least the formation of the definition of the ‘nature poem’ as it is currently used by many poets, is outdated. In a recent poem, the brilliant Jasmine Gibson writes:

Isn’t it funny when editors ask for you to write about ‘nature’ or what ‘comes natural’ to you in your environment
When in face the concept of nature is bourgeois 18th century not meant for you to ingest
And the fact that nature poems are the class enemy
And cement cages by tainted water and fields to work are what you know

And so we arrive at a truth: man-made ecosystems—and they are ecosystems, part of larger ecosystems of unfathomable immensity—are brutal places, created through racist ideologies like slavery and kept intact by the unremitting logics of extraction and domination, of capital. But how are we to address these depredations and this violence in our writing without writing ‘nature poems’? How to talk about Flint’s “tainted water” or First Nation’s lands’ “tainted water” without addressing water? Can we even speak of the horrors of slavery and “fields to work” without detailing fields, their formations? It is my belief that we can’t have poetic discourse about ecological crisis, much less racist and state-sponsored violence, without writing ‘nature poems,’ and thus, the understanding of the ‘nature poem’ must be radically reorganized, not so as to blank out the history of the term (however hegemonic it might be), but in order to reclaim the nature poem’s power to incite rage, excite possibilities of freedom from capital, and inspire deeper understandings of the ecosystems to which we belong, no matter how necrotic they have become.

Continue at The S.L.o.T.

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, February 18th, 2016 by Harriet Staff.