To see: a literary ecological point of view

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Costello, M 2013, 'To see: a literary ecological point of view', Text: Journal of Writing and Writing Courses: Writing Creates Ecology: Ecology Creates Writing, special iss. 20.

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‘An ecologically-informed point of view’, says Wendy Wheeler (2006: 91), is one 'that sees all life, including culture, as naturally co-evolved and interdependent’. We can be unconscious of the fact that we are ‘embodied creatures’ for whom ‘the natural world… is the ground-state’ (Wheeler 2006: 91). Constantly distracted by the mass of human-engineered activity, we have lost, Clive Hamilton says, our imagination, and the imagery to inspire an appropriate responsiveness (2005: 191). Beverley Farmer’s innovative ecocritical writing in ‘Mouths of gold’ (2005), with its nonlinear, associative structure and hybrid nature enfolding the prose poem, reveals her exemplary practice of seeing what is. Like the prose poem, the essay without a straightforward, linear structure requires focus and time to make your way through it and to understand what it is offering. John Tomlinson has noted that time itself is neither linear-progressive nor cyclic; it has accidents and surprises in store and is constituted by profound rifts and forks (2007). These rifts in time make us aware of the contingency of our existence. Survival and successful adaptation in environments that are in crisis in the early twenty-first century will require a constant reflexive re-balancing, an experimental approach, a strategy of improvisation.

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