Echo-Coherence: Moving on from Dwelling

Stuart Cooke

Abstract

Many ecopoetical formulations of belonging to, or caring for, the environment involve the notion of ‘dwelling’, which, in Martin Heidegger’s work, necessitated a kind of peaceful stasis, or a mode of being attuned to one particular locale, rather than to many. This essay will argue that in fragile, colonised environments like Australia’s such thinking is irrelevant and negligent because it insists on the importance of an individual’s on-going relationship with a single place, rather than with many. This relationship is manifest in particular kinds of poetry. The speaker’s intimacy with a place is affirmed with layers of detail, and assertions that it is this place to which the speaker belongs. The place is in turn constructed, and caged, within this representation. A poem that seeks to describe complex, dynamic ecologies in static representations, however, ignores both the nature of these ecologies and the poem’s own connection to them. This essay will propose a process-based poetics based on nomadic thought. Rather than describing static representations of the ‘real’ world, a nomadic ecopoetics understands its own role within the real world. Like nomadic agricultural practice, it moves in relation to the demands of its environment without an over-arching need to become entrenched in any particular locale. The essay will argue that nomadic thinking is as important for urban as rural regions as global climate change becomes increasingly influential

Keywords

Nomadic; dwelling; ecopoetics; poetry; Heidegger

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