Decolonisation and Geopoethics
Submissions are now open for August 2016
to be guest edited by Peter Minter
In this issue I invite poets, essayists, poetics theorists and artists in any medium to respond to a central question: what does a decolonised Australian ecopoetics look like?
From this provocation a whole set of related questions emerge. What is decolonisation, and what does or what can decolonisation look like in contemporary Australian poetry and poetics? Which contemporary Australian poets and poetic forms are emerging and defining a decolonised ecopoetics, and what are the effects of a decolonising sensibility on questions and choices about poetic form, voice, structure and tone? How can a decolonised Australian ecopoetics, and poetry that is inspired by a decolonising relation to nature and country, contribute to broader, comparative discussions about the way we interact with and write about all kinds of environments, in poetry, thought and life? How does a decolonised Australian ecopoetics engage Indigenous and non-western ontologies of nature and their intersection with discussions about the anthropocene, the multispecies, the non-human and the inanimate, and an applied environmental ethics?
The decolonial is beyond the postcolonial. In ecopoetics, it offers a geophilosophy that is grounded by what I call a geopoethics, an ecopoetical regard for nature and country that is aligned with Val Plumwood’s distinction in Feminism and the Mastery of Nature between an “ethics of virtue” and a western “ethics of reason”. Plumwood proscribes “[r]ationalist-inspired ethical concepts [that] are highly ethnocentric and cannot account adequately for the views of many indigenous peoples [… and their] virtue-based concepts such as care, respect, gratitude, sensitivity, reverence and friendship…”.Similarly, and while recognising the centrality of the human to present-day anthropogenic climate change, it is also ultimately aimed at decentering modes of human being that damage local and planetary systems, a task comparatist ecocritic and theorist Ursula Heise describes as “the goal of rethinking the centrality of human agency – especially that of the liberal humanist subject of the Enlightenment … in debates surrounding the Anthropocene.”
So, decolonially and geopoethically speaking, how might we find new ways in Australia to recast (or decolonise) some of the central terms and principles in ecocriticism and ecopoetics, much of which, we should keep in mind, arrived amidst the entire colonial apparatus. For instance, how might we rethink Gary Snyder’s poetics of the “watershed” in light of a sense of “country” that is emergent at thresholds and networks of narration, story, law, responsibility and care, mapped into planetary material, biological and environmental systems? How can such poetry include planetary-scale geological histories, cosmologies, meteorologies, perhaps a Gondwanan continental memory? At the level of composition, what kinds of poetic forms, styles and voices create spaces in which such sensibilities can emerge?
The call is for poetry, prose and artwork that finds innovative, experimental and challenging ways to express and explore such questions and issues. Perhaps together we will find a way to see what a decolonised Australian poetics really looks like.
 Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (London: Routledge, 1993), 183
 Ursula Heiss, Comparative Literature and the Environmental Humanities, 2014.
Submissions close: Thursday 5 May 2016
Send up to 3 poems in Times New Roman 12pt font, 1.5 spacing with each poem as a separate email attachment. Poems should not be previously published, but simultaneous submissions are allowed. Please let the managing editor know if your poem is accepted elsewhere. Poems should be submitted as .docx, .doc, or .rtf files (send visual poems as both .pdf and .jpg.) by email to: email@example.com . Do not include your name or contact details on the poems themselves, but include email contact details and a brief (50 word) bio in the body of an email.
Plumwood Mountain also considers submissions of scholarly essays and book reviews, creative prose and photo essays.
Scholarly essays should be 3000 – 5000 words in length
Style for articles and reviews: Times New Roman, left justified, 1.5 spacing, with footnotes, or author-date, and bibliography, following Chicago Manual of Style.
All articles, reviews and essays should be submitted as .docx, .doc, or .rtf files by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For multimedia, photographic essays, sound recordings and visual art, please first discuss the submission process and formatting with the managing editor at email@example.com
Copyright of poems, artwork, articles and reviews remains with the contributor.
Funds are not currently available to pay contributors, as all work for the journal is voluntary, but as funding becomes available we plan to give paying poetry contributors priority.
Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics