Ecopoetry has a vital role to play in raising awareness about ecological issues, revealing the beauty of the natural world, celebrating the sacredness of life, and changing people’s perceptions of the more-than-human world. Many of the issues that affect our planet are global in nature, and the Ecopoetikon project encompasses ecopoetry from both the Global South and the Global North.
This project’s inspiration stems from Dr Craig Santos Perez’s call for and poets from the Global North to read and support authors from the Global South, and to teach their work. Craig’s words can be found in this interview conducted by Kathryn Alderman.
Ecopoetikon aims to offer equal voice and representation to established ecopoets from around the world. Based in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK, Ecopoetikon is a developing research project that showcases a diverse international network of ecopoets through an online mapping project.
We make available inspirational and thought-provoking work from ecopoets demonstrating commitment and creative innovation in their practice.
Our accessible online interface aims to engage a wider audience with ecopoetry and to offer a free teaching resource when you sign up to our online community. Subscribe Here
In a world where countries are routinely categorized by their economic and developmental status, we use this contested terminology to differentiate between two groupings of countries defined as high and low-income, and to move away from the more hierarchical descriptions previously employed. The term ‘Global South’ was first used in a political sense in the late Sixties by Carl Oglesby, writing about the Vietnam War, when he stated that centuries of northern ‘dominance over the global south […] [has] converged […] to produce an intolerable social order' (Commonweal Magazine, 1969). Subsequently, Leigh Anne Duck, co-editor of Global South Development Magazine, argued that the term may resist ‘hegemonic forces that threaten the autonomy and development of these countries.’
These areas do not always correspond to the Northern and Southern Hemispheres – Australia and New Zealand, for example, are part of the Global North. Most of the world’s poorest countries are in the Tropics and Southern Hemisphere, and we recognise that many were first colonised by Global North countries, and that there continues to be rapacious resource extraction from the Global South by the Global North. At the same time, many countries in the Global South are worst affected by the climate and ecological crises, although they have caused the least impact. For example, Pacific Island countries, such as Guam, the Marshall Islands, and Samoa, are experiencing sea level rise, an increasing frequency and intensity of droughts and storms, ocean acidification and damage to coral reefs and fisheries, all of which is threatening the future of these ancient cultures.
Along with other critics, we accept that referring to a monolithic ‘South’ or ‘North’ is not always helpful, and that economic and social disparities increasingly exist within many nations, particularly at this time of a growing number of multi-millionaires/billionaires, whose collective wealth may equate to the total possessed by the world’s poorest countries. The polarised nature of this South/North division also neglects societies that fall between the two extremes.
Additionally, we recognise that poets and artists often exist on the margins of whichever country they live in, and where their work remains unvalued by the commercial market – which is likely if it is inherently critical of consumerism and capitalism – there can be a struggle to find ways to balance the need for an income with the time required to pursue a meaningful creative practice. Nevertheless, despite the term’s limitations, its use by Craig Santos Perez, an indigenous Chamorro poet from the Pacific Island of Guam, to invite poets from the Global North to read and teach the work of poets from the Global South has provided us with a productive stimulus to begin a global ecopoetic conversation.
Helen is a British ecopoet, socially engaged artist, writer, and Nature educator. She has published three ecopoetry collections, Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015), acclaimed by the Australian poet John Kinsella as ‘a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics’, and The Mother Country (Awen Publications, 2019) exploring aspects of British colonial history. INTATTO. INTACT: Ecopoesia. Ecopoetry, a bilingual Italian-English work, co-authored with Massimo D'Arcangelo (Italy) and Anne Elvey (Australia), was published by La Vita Felice in 2017. She offers an online mentoring programme, Wild Ways to Writing, and works with students internationally. In 2021 Helen gave a keynote lecture on ecopoetry and landscape at PoesiaEuropa in Italy, and collaborated with Cape Farewell on RiverRun, a cross arts-science project examining pollution in Poole Bay and its river-systems.
Helen's work is featured on Ecopoetikon here.
Rowan Middleton teaches English literature and creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire. His pamphlet The Stolen Herd is published by Yew Tree Press. Rowan’s research interests include: ecopoetry, literature and the spiritual, and early twentieth century poetry.
Kathryn worked as a professional actor and an agent in an actors’ co-operative agency. After raising a family, she gained a First Class BA (Hons) in English Literature and a Diploma in Literature, and Creative Writing from the Open University in 2016, and an MA with Distinction in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire in 2023. She is widely published and has won and been placed in poetry competitions. She chaired the Gloucestershire Writers’ Network and was poetry editor for the University of Gloucestershire’s 2021 Creative Writing anthology – Voices, and joint guest poetry reader for the Summer 2023 edition of The Phare magazine.
Her interest in ecopoetry stemmed from Professor Arran Stibbe’s work on ecological linguistics and how our choice of language influences the ‘stories we live by.’ Dr Craig Santos Perez’s call for writers from the Global North to ‘read, study and support’ writers from the Global South inspired her format for global ecopoets to widen engagement with our climate emergency, and the attempt to democratise the editorial process by asking world ecopoets to recommend others for inclusion. She is grateful to the incredible team of experts who agreed to join the project and make Ecopoetikon happen, and to the University of Gloucestershire’s Dame Janet Trotter Trust Fund and the Culture, Community and Transformation Fund for sponsorship.
Craig is an indigenous CHamoru from Guåhan (Guam) and a poet, editor, critic, publisher, artist, environmentalist, political activist and professor in the English Department of the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.
He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco and a PhD in Comparative Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkley. He has authored two spoken word poetry albums, Undercurrent (2011) and Crosscurrent (2017), and five poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010), from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014), from unincorporated territory [lukao] (2017), and Habitat Threshold (2020). His work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, and Spanish.
Craig’s monograph, Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization (2022) was published by the Critical Issues of Indigenous Studies series at the University of Arizona Press. His critical essays have been published in national and international peer-reviewed academic journals and anthologies.
Craig was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2010) and the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry (2019), and received the Pen Center USA/Poetry Society of America Literary Prize (2011), the American Book Award (2015), the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2016), and the Hawai'i Literary Arts Council Elliot Cades Literary Award (2017). He received a Ford Foundation Fellowship for his scholarly research (2009-2011). In 2016, he received the University of Hawaiʻi Chancellors' Citation for Meritorious Teaching. He has performed his environmental poetry at the 350.org Honolulu Climate March, The IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance conference, and the International Conference on Environmental Futures.
Arran Stibbe is a Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire. He has an academic background in both linguistics and human ecology and combines the two in his research and teaching. He is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association, and is author of Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by (Routledge) and Econarrative: ethics, ecology and the search for new narratives to live by (Bloomsbury). He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for teaching excellence, and has published widely on ecolinguistics.
Dr Charlotte Beyer is Senior Lecturer in English Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. She is the author of three single-author scholarly monographs to date, Murder in a Few Words: Gender, Genre and Location in the Crime Short Story (McFarland, 2020), Contemporary Children's and Young Adult Literature: Writing Back to History and Oppression (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021), and Intersectionality and Decolonisation in Contemporary British Crime Fiction (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2023). She has published widely on crime fiction and contemporary literature.
Charlotte is also author/editor of six edited books, including Teaching Crime Fiction (Palgrave, 2018), which was shortlisted for the 2019 Teaching Literature Book Award. Her book Mothers Who Kill, co-edited with Josephine Savarese, was published by Demeter Press in February 2022. Decolonising the Literature Curriculum, her edited book on pedagogical scholarship, was published by Palgrave in March 2022.
Charlotte has also edited two journal special issues: American, British and Canadian Studies on contemporary crime fiction (2017); and Feminist Encounters on Feminism and Motherhood in the 21st Century (2019).
She is the Editor-in-Chief of Teaching the New English, the Palgrave book series on Higher Education pedagogy. She also serves on the Editorial Boards for the journals The New Americanist, American, British and Canadian Studies, and Feminist Encounters.
Charlotte is a Crime Writers Association Dagger Award judge on the panel for historical crime fiction.
Angela is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in community settings. She is the author of five poetry books, Occupation (2009), Lessons in Mallemaroking (2011), Hide (2013) The Hill (2017) and Terminarchy (2021) as well as having poems in a number of anthologies. More publications from Angela can be found in the Research Repository.
Colin Bancroft has a PhD in the Ecopoetics of Robert Frost from Chichester University. His poetry pamphlets include 'Impermanence' (Maytree Press, 2020) and 'Knife Edge' (Broken Sleep, 2022). He is editor at Nine Pens Press.
Ardeshir is an MSc Data Science student at the University of Gloucestershire. He has a technical background and studied Software Engineering for his undergraduate degree. Since 2014 he has gained years of experience in the web development and digital marketing domain which led to developing a range of digital products for organisations and startups, including websites, applications, and SaaS to promote their businesses.
More information from Ardeshir can be found on Linkedin.
Dr Abu Alam is an experienced course leader at the University of Gloucestershire, with a passion for developing curriculum that expedite the efficiency and effectiveness of course delivery. He is well-versed in technology and writing code to create systems that are reliable, secure and user-friendly. He possesses strong technical knowledge along with effective communication, analytical, problem-solving, and organizational skills. His previous employment has been as a software developer, a software architect, a freelance software engineer, university research assistant, project consultant and recently as a senior lecturer. His technical skills include several programming languages, database, secure coding and design. His research interest includes programming, AI, cloud computing and secure coding.
Tom is an illustrator from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Having previously gained a BA (Hons) in Illustration from the University of Gloucestershire in 2012, Tom has gone on to sell his work at events up and down the country as well as online. His particular fields of artistic revolve mainly around pop culture, including music, science fiction, Avant Garde fashion and drag culture. Instagram.