My article ‘Healing, Belonging, Resistance, and Mutual Care’: Reading Indigenous Ecopoetics and Climate Narratives has been published in the new issue of the online open-access journal Literary Geographies. View the pdf here.
Here is the article’s abstract:
Narratives of climate change place it alternately as an environmental justice issue, a national and global security issue, an apocalyptic threat to life on earth, an opportunity for social change, and more. In this article, I aim to bring critical geographic work on climate narratives into conversation with contemporary poetry, through close readings of specific poems. I argue that the work of contemporary poets, and in particular the work of Indigenous ecopoetics, is rich in poetic texts that offer imaginative practices for recalibrating climate change narratives. I look particularly to works by Craig Santos Perez, Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Joy Harjo, and Linda Hogan. I approach the poems as both a critical geographer and as a poet, thinking through and with their form and content in relation to climate narratives, and in relation to a description of Indigenous ecopoetics by Perez. I meet these poems as stored energy, as actors themselves in a human and more-than-human collective. A close reading of the craft of creative texts—particularly to the level of the line in poetry—highlights the inextricable connection between form and content in how a poem acts and means in the world. As a non-Indigenous reader of texts by Indigenous poets, my goal is not to perform a ‘master’ reading or analysis of these texts, but rather to learn from the poems and in doing so attempt to decolonize my own thought, a process that is a constant practice.
I’ll be in Colorado at the Fort Collins Book Fest later this month, where on October 20 I’ll lead a “Walking and Writing Place” workshop with Michael McLane and then be part of a panel called “A Good Earth is Hard to Find” with Susan A. Shriner, Gillian Bowser, Sam Kean, and moderator John Calderazzo.
I have accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at New Mexico State University. I greatly enjoyed my year as a visiting faculty member in 2017-2018 and look forward to continuing on as a permanent tenure-track faculty member. This fall I will teach World Regional Geography and Cultural Geography. I look forward to jumping into new research and writing projects in the Chihuahuan Desert and the Land of Enchantment. Stay tuned…
I will contribute to a number of teaching-related sessions at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) conference in April 2018 in New Orleans. I am presenting a paper (“Southwestern Road Trip as Experiential Field Course”) in the “Experiential Learning in Geography Education” session on Tuesday, 10 April. I am also part of a panel on “Building the Geo-Humanities” on Friday, 13 April. On Saturday, 14 April, I am the discussant for a session on “Place-Based Pedagogy and Learning.”
I’ll be in Albuquerque at University of New Mexico on March 1 and March 2 giving two talks: “Climate Geopoetics” and “Practicing the Geohumanities.” You can read more info on these talks here and here. Thanks especially to the Spatial Humanities Working Group and the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies for inviting me.
With work by Daniel Biegelson, Rosemarie Dombrowski, Gabrielle Grace Hogan, Rose Knapp, W.J. Lofton, John Martin, Michael J. Pagán, Stephen Siperstein, Jonathan Skinner, Julia Wieting, Tyrone Williams, Gavin Yates + an entry poem composted from fragments of each of the pieces in the issue, Spiral Orb Fourteen is here.
Southwestern American Literature recently published a review of The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. In the review, William Huggins writes:
“Poetry at it best compels us to look more closely at our world. The best of these poems and short essays lead readers to engage with the plants and animals they describe word by word and line by line, creating a literary ecology that, like the natural world itself, can be returned to time and again, always revealing something not formerly seen. The editors’ stated goal—’The empiricism of science, the imaginative and cognitive leaps of poetry, the close observation of both…we need it all’—is more than met by this excellent book.”