Eco-News in Irish Studies

EcoJoyce book forthcoming

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Cork University Press will soon be publishing a volume of essays based on a panel at the 2010 Ireland and Ecocriticism conference, EcoJoyce:The Environmental Imagination of James Joyce. This is the only link I can find just yet, but when  a better image of the beautiful cover is available, it will be posted:


Call for Papers for essay collection, Fractured Ecologies

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Fractured Ecologies
Call for contributions to an edited collection on environmentalcriticism and radical experimental writingSince the 1990s, ecocriticism has influenced the ways we study literature, butfractures remain. If environmental scholars are to continue to challenge conventionalapproaches to literary study, inventive methods must be continually developed andimproved. British scholar Harriet Tarlo has made a call for environmentalengagement with experimental writing, and reminds us that “very few eco-critics engage with innovative or experimental writing.” Franca Bellarsi agrees, and emphasizes the real need to research “green ethics in different avant-garde practices.” And while there has been some preliminary ecocritical work on what canbe called experimental nature-writing, so far the most radical writing forms havelargely been overlooked. Wild avant-garde writing is a limit case of sorts, and thedifficulties in studying such forms are impossible to really avoid. But the lack of ecological perspectives on experimental writing justifies and demands moreattention. Moreover, conventional academic publishing outlets have promoted arather homogenous and monocultural understanding of scholarship that excludesinventive fringe observations. Therefore, Fractured Ecologies
welcomes rigorousand irreverent papers that address radical experimental writing and other borderlinemanifestations in an environmental context. The fundamental question that Fractured Ecologies will attempt to address is: How does radical experimentalwriting contribute to the ways we think about ecology? Suggested topics mayinclude but are not limited to discussions of ecology in a wide sense and:

Aleatory writing
Altar Poetry
Bizzaro fiction
Comic jam
Chance procedures
Concrete poetry
Dada writing
Digital poetry
CorpseFax art
Fluxus poetry
Found text
Fragments and remnants
Glorious plagiarism
Graffiti and wildstyle
Guerrilla semiotics
Haptic poetry
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry
Mechanical narrative agenc
yRound-robin texts
Sound poetry
Surrealist writing
Visual poetry
Words in Freedom

This project is under contract with an independent academic publisher. Contributorswill receive a free copy of the book. Please send paper abstracts of 500 words and aworking title to Chad Weidner at before 1 January 2014. Finalessays will be between 7,000-9,000 words in length and should conform to the MLAdocumentation style. Final papers will be due before 1 July 2014. Please email with questions.
Dr. Chad Weidner
Assistant Professor, English and Film
UCR Utrecht University
Lange Noordstraat 14331 CB
The Netherlands

Friend of the conference, eco-poet Kathryn Kirkpatrick, wins another award

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University News, Appalachian State University

Kathryn Kirkpatrick, a professor of English at Appalachian State University, has received the Brockman-Campbell Award for her collection of poetry “Our Held Animal Breath.”by a North Carolinian in the preceding year. It was presented during the society’s annual fall meeting held Sept. 21 in Southern Pines.

The award is presented annually by the N.C. Poetry Society for the book of poetry judged to be the best published. This is the second time that Kirkpatrick has received the honor. The first was in 1997 for “The Body’s Horizon.”

“We have a state of fabulous writers and poets who are part of a really strong community. I was completely and utterly surprised that I won it,” Kirkpatrick said of the honor. She said receiving the award for the second time, particularly when looking at the list of past awardees, validates her work and its staying power. Past award recipients include former N.C. Poet Laureates Kathryn Stripling Byer and Fred Chappell, Michael Chitwood and Robert Morgan.

This year’s competition was judged by Chard DeNiord, co-founder of the New England College MFA program in poetry and professor of English at Providence College.

“Any strong book of poetry is rare in its own original way,” he wrote. “The particular magic in Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s new book of poems, ‘Our Held Animal Breath,’ emanates from a courageously mature voice that speaks memorably about ordinary subjects … Like the ‘delicate bombs’ Robert Lowell called Elizabeth Bishop’s poems, Kirkpatrick’s poems detonate with a subtle, continual power, betraying a lapidary skill well attuned to the legacy of poetry.”

Bishop’s work inspired Kirkpatrick’s writing when she was an undergraduate at Winthrop University. “For DeNiord to recognize Bishop’s influence on my work, that he read it with such attention, acknowledged the long years of work and influence represented by this collection and that he got what I was trying to do and appreciated it, meant as much to me as receiving the award,” Kirkpatrick said. “That is a remarkable gift to give to another writer.”

Much of her poetry also deals with the environment and environmental issues.

“The collection was inspired by my need and desire to work through my grief over climate change,” she said of the poems written over the course of 15 years. “I have been studying and admiring the Irish poets for my entire career,” Kirkpatrick said. “They write political poems in the best way. There is a narrator who is witnessing and experiencing on a personal level what’s going on in the larger world.”

She said writing the poems included in “Our Held Animal Breath” helped her come to terms with what she views as an environmental and political crisis, and she hopes they will help her readers do the same.

“It’s a hard thing to write about,” Kirkpatrick said of her environmentally aware work. “We can see some changes that are occurring in our local environment, but so much (of my writing) is based on news stories of events happening somewhere else. I wanted to witness to that feeling of unreality. I wanted to say (environmental change) is happening and this is how it affects all of the people paying attention and integrate that experience into our everyday reality, because I think there is a lot that is kind of protecting us and keeping it at arm’s length.”

Kirkpatrick has taught courses in environmental humanities in the Department of Sustainable Development for the past four years. Topics have included classics in sustainable development, green poetry, ecofeminism and the representation of animals.

Kirkpatrick has a sixth collection of poetry to be published in 2014 – “Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful” inspired by a quotation from W.B. Yeats about the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne. The publication will contain her Irish-themed poetry and will be launched at University College Dublin during the American Conference for Irish Studies to be held in June.

More Ecocritical Activity in Ireland: NUI, Galway 11 October 2013

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Seeking Shelter or dwelling in the Open?

Examining Ecocritical Approaches to Human Habitation
From a socio-historical point of view, the human need for shelter seems unquestionable. For millennia humans have built dwelling places to shelter themselves from exposure to the threats posed by their environments. But whereas fences and shelters once seemed essential to our survival, in an age of over-population and ecological crises, in which mankind figures as the single biggest threat to the well-being of the ecosphere, it is the environment which seems in need of being sheltered from us.  Our faith in the fence seems inexhaustible: Where once we shut nature out, we now shut nature in, in nature reserves and conservation zones trying to exempt species and habitats from destruction. These exemptions, however, are little more than an alibi for ever greater exploitation and eradication of wilderness on the outside. In the face of the fact that we cannot save the planet by trying to save ourselves, literature and philosophy ask new and provocative questions: Can we acknowledge and approve of our contingencies with and exposures to the environment? Are we ready to face the open, in which we participate regardless of how and where we live? Are we willing yet to extend the privilege of the sanctity of life beyond humanity to other species? Both literature and philosophy respond to these questions by reflecting on modes of habitation and imaginatively conceiving them anew. From return-to-wilderness narratives and post-apocalyptic scenarios of exposure, to the outright refusal to tell the human self from its non-human environments, literature abounds with depictions of life outside conventional modes of shelteredness. On the other hand, literature reflects on the parameters, conditions and consequences of settlement, migration and diaspora and their implications.  Already the myth of the expurgation of mankind from Eden, which Caroline Merchant describes as the “perhaps […] most important mythology humans have developed to make sense of their relationship to the earth,” depicts a “turning away” of humans from the presence of the immanent perambulating divine. (3) What of the tradition of “recovery of Eden” narratives, then – are they help or hindrance on our way to reconciled dwelling? Giorgio Agamben in the majority of his works (i.e. Homo Sacer  [1995], The Open – of Man and Animal [2004], Profanations [2007])  discusses the consequences and implications of the sacred as a practice of dividing and setting apart within man “good life” (human, worthy of protection, endowed with a human “face”) and “bare life” (exposed and ready to be killed, animal). This caesura, according to Agamben, posits the concentration camp as the foundational paradigm of Western political life and not as its exception. These thoughts seem to us urgently relevant to thinking about shelteredness and openness in literature and environmental thought.



Seeking Shelter or Dwelling in the Open?

Examining Ecocritical Approaches to Human Habitation


11th of October

German/School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures/Gender Arc

(Supported by:  Minor Millennium Research Fund)

New Research Building,  Seminar Room



10:00               Registration and Welcome


 10:30-11:30     Axel Goodbody (University of Bath)

Heimat, Shelter and the Place of Humans in the World: Jenny Erpenbeck’s Heimsuchung 


Panel 1:

11: 30 – 12:00   Sabine Lenore Müller (Leipzig University)

“The house door left unshut” – Environmental Modernism and the Open in R. M. Rilke and W. B. Yeats

12:00-12:30      David Colon (NUI Maynooth)

Technology as environment and refuge in Ricardo Piglia’s The Absent City

12:30- 13:00     Michael Sauter (Augsburg University)

Seeking Shelter, Building Fires: London, McCarthy, …and Lukács?


13:00- 14:00    Lunch Break



14:00-15:00                  Tim Wenzell (Virginia University)

Green Deity: Nature as mind in Robert Graves The White Goddess


Panel 2:

15:00- 15: 30                Heike Schwarz, (Augsburg University)

“Is anyone seeing this?”: Ecopsychopathology, Ecocalypse or Environmental Madness in American Fiction and Jeff Nichol´s Take Shelter (2011)


15:30- 16:00                 Conn Holohann (NUI Galway)

In Praise of Error: Cosmopolitan Space in the Films of Claire Denis’

17:30-18:00                  Roundtable Discussion

About the conference image

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2541-P-S-Brandes-Der-AngstlustbaumDer Angstlustbaum, Stephen Brandes, 2005, Crawford Gallery, Cork


Born in Wolverhampton, Stephen Brandes has lived and worked in Cork since moving to Ireland in 1993. His complex and detailed ink drawing Der Angstlustbaum, is inspired by a wide range of cultural references, including Charles Darwin´s “Tree of Evolution”, but the term, (not a recognized German word, but an invented word translating roughly as “anxiety driven tree”) also features in a quote from the band “The Fall”. The inspiration for this drawing, and other works by Brandes, stems partly from a visual diary the artist made in 1999 when he retraced his grandmother’s 1903 journey through Europe, when she fled pogroms and persecution in Romania. Brandes´ work has developed into a series of elaborate visual fictions, interweaving this family history with his own experience and invention. His work is infused with often, dark humour and is influenced by European fairytales, graphic novels and underground comics.

Recent solo exhibitions by Brandes include “Chutsparadiso” at the West Cork Arts Centre in 2007; “Travelogue” at the Rubicon Gallery in 2005, ‘Ways of Escape´, at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, in 2004. Brandes represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Brandes has also worked as a curator of independent art projects, notably Superbia (2003) and Superbia 2 (2005).

– See more at: