English 474F, Section 006

Denatured Reading, Displaced Persons

Course Website in Process and Under (Re)construction

MWF, 12:00-12:50 in Angus 435.

Lecturer: Prof. Kevin McNeilly
Office: BuTo 401, Phone: 822-4466
Office Hours, January to April 2016: Tuesdays 1:00 to 2:30
E-mail: mcneilly@mail.ubc.ca
Twitter: @theRealMcNeilly
Homepage (academic): faculty.arts.ubc.ca/kmcneill/
Homepage (creative): kevinmcneilly.ca
Blog: Frank Styles
Blog: Flow, Fissure, Mesh

Course Description

Critical and artistic responses to media representations of climate change and to contemporary discourses of imperiled ecology have given rise in the first decades of the twenty-first century to an aesthetics of what the photographer Edward Burtynsky has called "manufactured landscapes": denatured, waste-filled contact zones between human technologies and uninhabited space. Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts call these spaces "edgelands," and develop a latter-day poetics that tries to account for the human intervention in the natural, while Kathleen Jamie asks, as she travels the shorelines of the human, "if it's still possible to value that which endures, if durability is still a virtue, when we have invented plastic." Beginning with Robert Hayman's seventeen century caveat that we can "live no other where" and with a reading of a foundational modern text of denatured poetics, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, we will examine contemporary English-language fiction, essays, songs and poetry that contemplate landscape, ecology, corporeality and self-fashioning. How is it still possible to write something like an enduring poetry or to speak of the natural in an age of "wildlife management," when human dominion has so pervasively asserted itself over the disparate surfaces of the earth?

Primary Texts

Course Requirements
 
Participation and Attendance (10%)
Response Blog (10%)
Click here for instructions and requirements for blog entries.
Essay 1 (15%)
Click here for the first essay topic sheet.
Due in class on Friday, January 29.
Essay 2 (20%)
Click here for the second essay topic sheet.
Due in class on Monday, March 14.
Essay 3 -- term paper (25%)
Click here for the essay topics for the term paper.
Due in class on Wednesday, April 13.
Final Examination (20%)
Date and Location: 12 noon on Thursday April 21 in Buchanan A202.
Click here for the outline for the final exam.

Class Schedule

 
Classes take place in Angus 435.
Please note that the external links are for supplemental purposes -- to provide background information and additional resources -- and that I cannot vouch for their accuracy or thoroughness.
 

Monday January 4
Please read "Poker" by Paul Farley, found here (with audio).
Please read "Fianuis" by Kathleen Jamie, found here.
Click here for a video of Paul Farley reading his poem "Treacle."
Click here for a 2009 interview with Paul Farley.
Click here for a wikipedia page about the Great Glen.
Click here for the homepage for The Famous Grouse whiskey.
Click herefor a tourist page on the Isle of Rona, in Scotland.
Click here for some aerial views of Fianuis, Rona.
Click here for a video identifying the UK rock pipit.
Click here for Timothy Morton's website/blog, Ecology Without Nature.
Click here for a link to the Foundation for Deep Ecology and the work of Arne Naess.
Click here to access an electronic copy of In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism by Isabelle Stengers. I quoted from this book at the end of today's class: ". . . the felt necessity of trying to listen to that which insists, obscurely" (19).
Click here for an episode of "The Echo Chamber" from BBC Radio 4, in which Paul Farley interviews Kathleen Jamie. It was broadcast on Sunday, January 3, 2016, and the stream will stay live until the first week of February.
 
 
 
Kathleen Jamie: "Poetry, the Land, and Nature" (2015 Coleridge lecture at the University of Bristol)
 
Wednesday January 6
Please read "Beautiful Habit" by Tom Raworth, found here (with audio).
(You might also have a look at "Errory" as well.)
Please read Simon Armitage's poem, "In Praise of Air." The poem's website is found here.
Click here for a 14 May 2014 article from The Guardian about the poem, displayed on the side of a building at the University of Sheffield. Scroll down to find the text of the poem.
Click here for Simon Armitage's homepage.
Click here for the Poetry Foundation page on Simon Armitage.
Click here for writing by and about Simon Armitage from The Guardian. (You might want to have a look at the video of his walk in the Pennines.)
Click here for audio of Simon Armitage reading.
Click here for "What is the Anthropocene and Are We in It?" from Smithsonian magazine.
 
 
(Please note: Tom Raworth begins reading, in the video, at 29:30.)
 
Friday January 8
"It must be clearly affirmed that humanity is an animal species that attempts to overcome its animality, a natural set that attempts to denaturalise itself." (Alain Badiou, quoted and translated in the Stengers book linked above, p. 12)
Please read Kathleen Jamie, "Mr and Mrs Scotland Are Dead."
Click here to access a copy of Kathleen Jamie's poem, "Mr and Mrs Scotland Are Dead," along with audio of Jamie reading the poem.
Click here for "In the Nature of Things," a 2005 profile of Kathleen Jamie from The Guardian.
Click here for "Tourism fears as winter storms turns scenic Scots lochside into garbage trap" from the Daily Record, 17 January 2014.

Monday January 11
Please look at the photography of Edward Burtynsky.
Click here for Edward Burtynsky's homepage. Please click on "Projects" to look at small reproductions of his photographs.
Please note that "Oil" and "Water" have been made into multi-media iPad apps by Burtynsky. (You can purchase them if you wish.)
Wednesday January 13
Edward Burtynsky, continued.
Click here for a description of "A Terrible Beauty," an Edward Burtynsky exhibit in the spring of 2014 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Click here for a description of "Edward Burtynsky: The Landscape That We Change," a 2013 exhibit at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario.
Click here to view Edward Burtynsky photographs from the Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto.
Click here to view "My wish: Manufactured landscapes and green education," Edward Burtynsky's 2005 TED talk.
Click here to see Edward Burtynsky's work at the National Gallery of Canada.
Click here to view a clip of Edward Burtynsky on CBC's "The Hour" with George Stroumboulopoulos.
Click here for a 2013 article on Burtynsky from the Toronto Star
Click here for "A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsky's Water" by Lizzy Hill.
Click here for "Interview: Edward Burtynsky Talks About 'Water'."
Friday January 15
Please bring to class a cell-phone snapshot that depicts the collision of the human and the natural. Selfies are warmly invited.

Monday January 18
Please read Karen Solie, "Bitumen," found here.
Click here for "All at Once," an essay around her poem "Bitumen," by Karen Solie.
 
 
Wednesday January 20
Please listen to The Idea of North, by Glenn Gould.
An on-line copy of the audio can be accessed here, via the CBC.
 
Friday January 22
The Idea of North, continued.
Please read, also, John K. Samson.
Please read, in particular, "Everything Must Go" (33) and "Left and Leaving" (40).
Click here for a version of "Everything Must Go" performed by The Weakerthans.
Click here for a video from the University of Toronto of a 2013 interview with John K Samson by Prof. Nick Mount.
Click here for a video of John K Samson performing at the Chan Centre here at UBC in November 2012, along with an on-stage interview by Keith Maillard.

Monday January 25
Please read John K. Samson.
Please look especially at "Highway 1 West" (105), "Heart of the Continent" and "One Great City!" (63).
Click here for John K. Samson's webpage.
Click here for The Weakerthans webpage.
Click here for a CBC page on John K Samson, with playable versions of songs from his album Provincial.
Click here for a short film about John K Samson's petition-song delivered to The Hockey Hall of Fame.
Click here for a review of Provincial from The Globe and Mail.
 
 
Wednesday January 27
John K. Samson, continued.
Guest Lecturer: Bronwyn Malloy
Please read "Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961)," "Civil Twilight," "My Favourite Chords," "Utilities."
Friday January 29
John K. Samson, continued.
Please read "Reconstruction Site" and "A New Name for Everything"
ESSAY 1 DUE IN CLASS.
Click here for the topic sheet for the first essay.
 

Monday February 1
Please read Kathleen Jamie, Sightlines. Start with "Magpie Moth" (173), "Aurora" (1) and "The Woman in the Field" (43).
Click here for a page on Kathleen Jamie from The Poetry Foundation.
Click here for "Kathleen Jamie: A Life in Writing" from The Guardian.
Click here for a page, with audio, on Jamie at The Poetry Archive.
Click here for Kathleen Jamie's official homepage.
Click here for a page on Jamie from the Scottish Poetry Library.
Click here for Kathleen Jamie's page at the University of Sterling.
Click here for Kathleen Jamie's page at the Griffin Poetry Prize site.
Wednesday February 3
Sightlines, continued. Please focus on "Three Ways of Looking at St Kilda" (131) and "On Rona" (179).
Click here for a page on Jamie from the British Council.
Click here for audio -- on YouTube -- of Jamie reading from The Overhaul at the T S Eliot Prize Readings
Click here for a reading of Jamie's "The Way We Live."
Click here for Kathleen Jamie's Twitter.
Click here for Kathleen Jamie's writing in the London Review of Books. (A subscription seems to be required to access the full text of the articles.)
Click here for a 2012 interview with Jamie in the Scottish Review of Books. (There is some information about her interest in archeology here.)
Click here for an article on Kathleen Jamie's poetry being inscribed in 2013 on a monument to the Battle of Bannockburn.
Friday February 5
Sightlines, continued. Please focus on "Pathologies" (21).
 
 
 

Monday February 8
Family Day. University Closed.
Wednesday February 10
Sightlines, continued. Please focus on "The Hvalsalen" (95) and "Voyager, Chief" (219).
A field trip! Visit to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Please meet at our classroom in Angus 435 at the usual time, and we will walk over.
 
 
Friday February 12
Midterm review. Please bring to class a text of your choice that focuses on an ecology without nature.
 

Monday February 15 to Friday February 19
MID TERM READING BREAK -- UNIVERSITY CLOSED
 

Monday February 22
Please read Octavia Butler Dawn (the first novel from the Xenogenesis trilogy, or Lilith's Brood as it's published in the edition you have).
Click here for Octavia Butler's official website.
Click here for Octavia Butler's obituary in The New York Times.
Click here for "Octavia Butler's Homepage."
Click here for "Science Fiction Writer Octavia Butler on Race, Global Warming and Religion" (from November 2005).
Click here for "'Devil Girl From Mars': Why I Write Science Fiction" by Octavia Butler.
Click here to download "A Cyborg Performance: Gender And Genre In Octavia Butler" by Keren Omry.
Click here to access Cassandra L. Jones's 2013 PhD dissertation FutureBodies: Octavia Butler as a Post-Colonial Cyborg Theorist.
 
 
 
Wednesday February 24
Butler, continued.
Click here for "Unseen Octavia E Butler stories recovered" from The Guardian.
Click here for "NPR Essay: UN Racism Conference" by Octavia Butler.
Click here for excerpts from a June 2000 interview with Octavia Butler.
Click here for "A Few Rules For Predicting The Future" by Octavia Butler.
Click here for "Dialogic Origins and Alien Identities in Butler's XENOGENESIS" by Cathy Peppers.
 
 
Friday February 26
Butler, continued.
Click here for a page from Octavia Butler's notebooks, encouraging herself to write.
Click here for the Octavia Butler Legacy Network.
Click here for "Octavia Butler: The outsider who changed science fiction" by Tyler Cowen.
 
 

Monday February 29
Please read Farley and Roberts, Edgelands.
Click here for a review of Edgelands from The Guardian.
Click here for Michael Symmons Roberts's homepage.
Click here for audio of Paul Farley reading his poetry.
Click here for a review of Edgelands from The Independent.
Click here for a review of Edgelands from The Telegraph.
Click here for "Wildness on the edge of town: an Edgelands encounter with Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts."
Click here for a review of Edgelands from the Poetry Book Society.
Click here for a video, from The Guardian, interviewing Farley and Roberts about Edgelands.
Click here to read Paul Farley's sonnet "Whitebeam," which enacts a poetics of edgelands.
 
Wednesday March 2
Edgelands, continued.
Click here for another review of Edgelands.
Click here for an edited extract from Edgelands.
Click here for Paul Farley's account of his days as an art college student.
Click here for Paul Farley's academic homepage at Lancaster University.
Click here for an interview with Paul Farley.
Click here for a video about Paul Farley, featuring his reading of "Tramp in Flames."
Click here for audio of Michael Symmons Roberts reading his poetry.
Click here for a page on Michael Symmons Roberts from The Poetry Foundation.
 
Friday March 4
Edgelands, continued.
Here is a blog entry with photographs of the "TOJO THE DAWRF" graffiti.
 

Monday March 7
Please read Hugh Howey, Wool.
Click here for Hugh Howey's homepage.
Click here for a wikipedia entry on Hugh Howey.
Click here for "Sci-Fi's Underground Hit" by Alexandra Alter, from The Wall Street Journal.
Click here for "Self-publishing is the future -- and great for writers" by Hugh Howey, from Salon, April 2013.
Click here for "How WOOL Got A Unique Publishing Deal" by Hugh Howey, from The Huffington Post, November 2013.
Click here for "Hugh Howey and the Indie Author Revolt" by Mark Coker, from Publishers Weekly, February 2014.
Click here for "Wool, Gathering" by Tammy Oler, from Slate.
Click here for "Four Questions for...Hugh Howey" by Rachel Deahl, from August 2014, about e-book price wars.
 
 
Wednesday March 9
Wool, continued.
Click here for "DRM: Dumb or Brilliant?" -- an entry from Hugh Howey's blog.
Click here for the Amazon.com page for the electronic version of the omnibus edition of Wool: note that there are over 9000 customer reviews.
Click here for "Hugh Howey corrects just about every assumption you ever had about the book trade," a blog post from October 29, 2014.
Click here for "How Hugh Howey Turned His Self-Published Story “Wool” Into a Success (& a Book Deal)" by Rachel Randall, from January 2014.
Click here for a Wikipedia plot-summary of the 9 "silo" books (5 of which make up Wool).
&nsbp;
 
Friday March 11
Wool, continued.
 
 
 

Monday March 14
Wool, continued
ESSAY 2 DUE IN CLASS
Click here for the essay topic sheet for the second essay.
 
 
Wednesday March 16
Wool, continued. And Goodison, From Harvey River.
Click here for a Wikipedia page on Lorna Goodison.
Click here for an interview with Lorna Goodison from Mosaic in 2013.
Click here for a page on Lorna Goodison from the Poetry Foundation.
Click here for "Four Poems by Lorna Goodison."
Click here for Lorna Goodison's faculty profile page at the University of Michigan site.
Click here for "Lorna Goodison in the Context of Feminist Criticism" (1990) by Edward Baugh.
 
 
Friday March 18.
Please read Goodison, From Harvey River.
Click here for Lorna Goodison reading "After the Green Gown of My Mother Gone Down."
 

Monday March 21
Goodison, continued.
 
Wednesday March 23
Goodison, continued.
 
Friday March 25
GOOD FRIDAY -- UNIVERSITY CLOSED

Monday, March 28
EASTER MONDAY -- UNIVERSITY CLOSED
Wednesday March 30
Please read McKay, Deactivated West 100.
Click here for the text of "Sometimes a Voice."
Click here for an entry on Don McKay from the Canadian Encyclopedia.
Click here for "Lyric Ethics: Ecocriticism, Material Metaphoricity, and the Poetics of Don McKay and Jan Zwicky" by Adam Dickinson.
Click here for a 2012 interview with Don McKay, on the CBC.
Click here for a review of McKay's Deactivated West 100.
Click here for "Be-wildering: The Poetry of Don McKay" by Stan Dragland.
 
Friday April 1
McKay, continued.
A field trip! Please meet in our usual classroom (Angus 435), and we will walk over to the Pacific Museum of the Earth.
 
 

Monday April 4
McKay, continued.
Click here for "Baler Twine: Thoughts on Ravens, Home, and Nature Poetry" by Don McKay.
Click here for "Facing the Environmental Crisis with Contemplative Attention: The Ecopoetics of Don McKay, Tim Lilburn, and Russell Thornton" by Susan McCaslin.
Click here for a page on Don McKay from The Gustafson Poetry Series.
 
Wednesday April 6
McKay, continued.
Click here for "Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever" by Robert Macfarlane, from The Guardian.
 
Friday April 8
Last class: catch-up and review.
 

Wednesday April 13
TERM PAPER DUE
Click here for the essay topics for the term paper.
 

FINAL EXAM
Thursday, April 21, 2016, at 12:00 pm in Buchanan A 202.
Click here for the outline for the final exam.