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Liminal Realism & Poetic Echoes of the Earth
August 26, 2021 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Ecopoetics of Reenchantment: Liminal Realism & Poetic Echoes of the Earth
Bénédicte Meillon, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia
August 26, 2021
Smathers 100 (Library East) & via Live Streaming
6:30–8:00 PM (EST)
This lecture draws on a forthcoming monograph on the role of reenchantment and the resurfacing of the song of the Earth in contemporary environmental fiction, including works by American and European authors Jean Giono, Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Pancake, Richard Powers, Annie Proulx, Leslie Marmon Silko, Starhawk, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and others.
Focusing on the braiding of indigenous and ecofeminist ontologies within a Western context, my readings of animistic and totemic dimensions of these works leads to the theorizing of “liminal realism,” a mode of storytelling performed at the edges of scientific, mythical, and poetic worldviews. I approach liminal realism through an ecopoetic critical lens, emphasizing how it works a kind of interspecies magic, situating the reader in-between human and other-than-human worlds. In this literature, moreover, language is rematerialized and made sensuous, poetically echoing the biophony and geophony of the Earth’s polyphonic soundscapes, and relaying its textured odorscapes: writing as initiatory ecopoesis, as postmodern shamanism. This form of writing reenchants our rapport with the Earth, promoting a re-recognition of it based on relationships of vital reciprocity and symbiosis, and restoring our capacity for wonder.