Introduction: "Eleven Windows into Post-Pastoral Exploration"

Franca Anik Bellarsi


Convened by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures of the Université Libre de Bruxelles and held in Brussels from 14 to 17 May 2008, the “Poetic Ecologies” Conference was the first ecocritical/ecopoetic conference to be ever held in Belgium. This four-day international gathering, without privileging any bioregion or poetic tradition in particular, aimed to include poetic voices from all over the Anglophone world, from Canada to Australasia. However, in keeping with its title, the “Poetic Ecologies” forum also resolutely sought to place the genre of poetry―from its more conventional to more experimental forms—at the forefront, be it through the voices of poetry scholars or currently active poets. Within the framework of an ecocritical paradigm that is still very much a work in progress, the Conference thus strove to give as much attention to the “poetry/poetics” component as to the “ecological/ecocritical” one in its exploration of the multiple and changing forms of ecological and ecocritical consciousness in English-language verse. In the process, the participants not only repeatedly interrogated the complex concept of ecology as such, exploring what actually constitutes ecologically-engaged poetic practice; besides, they also engaged with the equally complicated issue of “Text as Nature versus Nature as Text” and sought to shed light on the dynamic, shifting―and therefore also ever elusive—interrelationships between ecological texts and textual ecologies, between the systems of Nature and those of Culture.


Ecopoetry; ecopoetics; post-pastoral; spectrum; textual ecologies; (non-)dualism; Negative Capability; Nature vs. Culture

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@Journal of Ecocriticism. ISSN 1916-1549