Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form: Holding on to Proteus, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form

Holding on to Proteus, 1st Edition

By Aaron M. Moe


256 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780367173753
pub: 2019-02-11
SAVE ~$28.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429061134
pub: 2019-02-14
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form: Holding on to Proteus demonstrates how a fractal imagination helps one hold the form of a poem within the reaches of Deep Time, and it explores the kinship between the hazy, liminal moment when Sound becomes Syllable and the hazy, liminal moment when the sage energy of the Atom made a leap toward the gaze of the first cell, to echo Merwin. Moe distills his methodology as follows: "My work?—I point," asserted the aphorism. "That’s what I do." To point, the project integrates a wide range of interdisciplinary ideas—including biosemiotics, fractals, phi, trauma theory, the Mandelbrot Set, hyperobjects, meditative chants, Goethe’s morphology, Ramanujan’s summation, a spiderweb’s sonic properties, and Thoreau’s sense of the plant-like burgeoning force of an Atom—in order to open up multiple trajectories. In this context, the volume foregrounds the insights of poets/storytellers including Hillman, Snyder, Anzaldúa, EEC, okpik, Whitman, Dickinson, Gladding, Melville, Morrison, and Toomer, for they are most attentive to that liminal moment when the vibratory hum in language, and in the cosmos, turns kinetic. As this volume draws on a wide range of writers from many backgrounds, it allows the myriad voices to engage with one another across differences in race, gender, and ethnicity. These writers show us how, to echo Dickinson, the "Freight / Of a delivered Syllable - " can split and how the energy unleashed came from, and points us back toward, the energy (un)making the forms of Gaia.The starting point for discussing the energy of a poem can no longer begin with the human; rather, Holding on explores how the poem’s energy is but a sliver of a hyperobject "massively distributed" throughout the cosmos—a sage energy that brings forth form.

Table of Contents



Note on EEC’s Name and on Citing the Poetry of Dickinson and Whitman


Part I: Origins; or, "the bud of the bud"

The "turn / ing;edge,of / life": An Introduction

Chapter 1: Protean Energy; or, The Squeeze & the Turn in Moby-Dick

Chapter 2: Biosemiotics and Jody Gladding’s Translations from Bark Beetle

Chapter 3: Vibrational Poiesis of Insects and Arachnids

Chapter 4: "Electrons / swoon in the sword fern": Plants, Seeds, and Brenda Hillman’s Thoreauvian Attentiveness

Part II: Energy Unleashed

Chapter 5: The "worship of kinesis" in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath

Chapter 6: Machines, Protean Mimicry, and the Organic Energy of Writing Technologies

Chapter 7: "plant Magic dust": A Look at the "Making obsession"

Chapter 8: Holding on

Chapter 9: The Squeeze of Trauma: "protean being" & 500 Years of Pressure

Part III: E = mc2, the Fractal Cosmos, and the Poem

Chapter 10: Mathematics and the Protean Sublime

Chapter 11: Protean Energy as Hyperobject: Language and the Cosmos

Chapter 12: Gaia, the Atom, and the Poem

Protean Poiesis: An Afterword



About the Author

Aaron M. Moe is an assistant professor of English and Environmental Studies at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Washington State University. His work on poetics, zoopoetics, and ecocriticism has appeared in several journals including ISLE, Journal of Ecocriticism, Humanimalia, and the Walt Whitman Quarterly as well as book chapters in Texts, Animals, Environments: Zoopoetics and Ecopoetics, The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies,and The Educational Significance of Human and Non-Human Animal Interactions. In 2014, his Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry became a crucial step in the unfolding exploration of the energy behind the forms of poiesis.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.

Series Editors:

Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Previous Editors:

Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: