The following is a short note on some ideas you are asked to keep in mind when reviewing books for Plumwood Mountain journal.
- Book reviews should be between 1000-2000 words (unless a different arrangement has been made with the managing editor).
- Please give pages numbers for all quotations from the book under review.
- Please supply references for all other books and articles to which you refer in your review. These can be given as author-date in text, or using endnotes, and in each case a bibliography of works cited added at the end.
- Reviews should err on the side of generosity to the book, but should not be hagiographic or read as a publisher’s blurb. Criticism needs to be well-supported and, where possible, constructive.
- Send reviews as docx, doc or rtf files by email to Anne Elvey:
Please note the following points about reviewing for a journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics. It is important to note that even if the work you are reviewing is not in your opinion ecopoetry, ecopoetic principles can be brought to your review of the work.
Ecopoetry is more than “landscape poetry” or “nature writing”. In the making (poiesis) that is poetry, ecopoetry engages with ecological perspectives, questions such as what it means to be human in a more than human world, how we might attend to the other than human in our writing and reading, what it might mean to write the other or to write with the other.
Ecopoetics reads, interprets or critiques poetic (and sometimes other literary and artistic) works from an ecological perspective, asking questions such as:
- how is the making of the work continuous with the poietic (making) or autopoietic activities of other than human species (e.g. nest building)?
- how does the work contribute to the making of a dwelling (or place) in which humans are ecologically embedded in a world?
- how does the work express the limits of language to convey what Tim Norton describes as “the ecological thought”?
- how does the work express the desire for human oneness with a more than human world? how does the work call this desire into question and reveal its colonising potential? how does the work seek harmony? or unsettle the relationship between humans and their habitat?
- how does the work related to ecological activism?
- how does the work engage with or further an ecocentric rather than and anthropocentric perspective?
Works reviewed from an ecopoetic perspective need not themselves be examples of ecopoetry or ecoart.
The “how” part of the above questions can refer to imagery, form, voice, technique and so on. Forrest Gander writes: “What we’ve perpetrated on our environment has certainly affected a poet’s means and material. But can poetry be ecological? Can it display or be invested with values that acknowledge the economy of interrelationship between human and nonhuman realms? Aside from issues of theme and reference, how might syntax, line break, or the shape of a poem on the page express an ecological ethics?” (Forrest Gander and John Kinsella, Redstart: An Ecological Poetics. Contemporary North American Poetry Series. Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2012, pp. 1-2).
13 December 2013 (updated 16 February 2016)
Note: many of the ideas in this outline are gleaned from Kate Rigby’s forthcoming encyclopaedia entry on “Ecopoetics”.