Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The poems in Wayfaring, along with its critical introduction, will explore the destruction that results from human civilization’s obsession with eliminating the wild. It will address the need to form, in Marin Buber’s terms, an I/Thou relationship with nature rather than an I/It relationship. The pastoral tradition has some influence on the poems. However, none of the poems will technically be true pastorals because my aims aren’t to celebrate a simpler way of life or to call the world back to some idealized nature/human relationship that never existed. My aims are to create moments that reveal the illusion of the civilized/wild boundary, which I hope can create brief dramas of illumination. Inherent in this is also a historical perspective, one that explores marginalization of both race and class from an eco-justice perspective. Eco-justice is the concept that environmental destruction of a habitat is directly linked to the value placed on the populations, either human or otherwise, living in those habitats. For example, a University of Michigan study has shown that most landfills in the U.S. are located in poor and minority communities. Another example is my home city of Philadelphia. A great deal of money and effort has been put into “greening” the city. Yet, this greening has been mostly focused on center city and other areas being gentrified by upper income professionals. The neighborhoods where the poorest live are still as barren of greenery as they were in decades past. It could be argued, then, that a great deal of the greening movement has been merely aesthetic rather than comprehensive. It makes the important and wealthiest places look good, but does little for the overall populace or environment. The introduction to the manuscript will be a critical analysis of English language poetry through a political and ecocritical lens.
Heston, Brian Patrick, "Wayfaring." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2018.
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