Semester Mantra, Fall 2016

Guitar Collage

I wrote this blog-post a year ago, but have decided to use the quote by Cummings as a mantra for this semester. I am teaching “Ecopoetics in the Age of the Anthropocene” and a sampling of 20th Century American literature that focuses on trauma, healing, language, and consciousness. Therefore, wandering in …

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Literary #instaessays: Finding a Way

1112, This is a Blossom of the Brain Cropped

I am just starting to experiment in what could be called a literary‪ #‎instaessay‬–a compelling genre full of possibility. I have written a couple poem-essays on some images from The Emily Dickinson Archive. I am interested in what opens up in terms of circulation (and rhetorical velocity) when we have students …

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Negative Capability: Semester Mantra, Spring 2016

M. C. Escher's "Drawing Hands"

John Keats defines negative capability as the moment when one “is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” Difficult to do, but this semester, more than any other, I hope students linger in this space. I am teaching a course on Emily Dickinson. …

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Semester Mantra, Fall 2015


This semester, I am starting off one of my classes (and discussing later in my other courses) Walt Whitman’s “Vocalism,” which is my mantra. We are also reading Carolyn Hill’s “Changing Times in Composition Classes: Kairos, Resonance, and the Pythagorean Connection.” Why? To be a good reader and writer, one …

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The Protean Poetics of Spiders and Seeds | ASLE 2015

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Can’t wait for ASLE 2015!! This presentation is based on a contribution on poetics forthcoming in The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies.         All this work by Aaron Moe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at  

The Witchcraft of Geometry & Muhammad Ali’s “ME / WE”


Known for her angles, circumferences, and slants, it is no wonder Emily Dickinson wrote “Best Witchcraft is Geometry / To the magician’s mind” (1158). M. C. Escher would agree. But I am more interested, at the moment, in the spellbinding power of what is known as the shortest poem ever …

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Email to Students Tottering at the Edge of Brenda Hillman’s Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire

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Hi Class, For Wednesday afternoon, I am providing an alternative. You can read the essay and interview by/with David Abram (found in syllabus; and here: “The Ecology of Magic”; Interview with David Abram)…. OR you can read the attached essay “Plant Intelligence” [not attached here, of course]. I know that several of …

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“For Occupation – This -”: The Legacy of Emily Dickinson’s Ecopoetics


In This Compost, Jed Rasula explores how the trope is “poetry’s composting medium” (9). This succinct statement powerfully directs our imagination to see how a recurring image, for instance, folds all previous images back into itself, composting them, and therefore becoming a fecund site full of biological synergy, so to …

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Fall 2014 Semester Mantra: Kafka & Dwelling


There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it can’t do otherwise; in raptures it will writhe before you. …

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Why we have the Washington Redskins but not the Alabama Ni***rs; or, wtf

Image from the Daily Snark

Much more is at stake with Washington’s mascot than being politically correct. Come on, people. Let’s think this through. The root of problem lies within an education system that fails to teach Manifest Destiny as something other than it really is. In reality, Manifest Destiny contributed to the largest genocide …

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The Problem with the Word Environment


[click here for a pdf that preserves the typography of the poem] The Problem with the word Environment Who environs whom the word presupposes a center something around which the earth swarms the word presupposes a human center as if the earth swarms around us the word presupposes the Jar …

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#YesAllWomen and Teaching WCW’s “The Young Housewife”


As I write this, I have my twitter account set to searching “#yesallwomen.” The hashtag didn’t exist before May 24th, and now after the tragic killings in Santa Barbra, there have been well over a million total tweets. (Before I finished that last sentence, I saw the “new results” for …

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Zoopoetics Chapter Descriptions


Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2014). The Coat of a Horse: A Prelude      This prelude establishes the agency of a horse’s bodily poiesis in a way that anticipates the argument of the introduction. The horse becomes a maker through the somatic gestures of his ears, …

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Publication of “Toward a Zoopolis”

Cover FWLS

“Toward a Zoopolis: Animal Poiesis and the Poetry of Emily Dickinson and Brenda Hillman” is now published in the section on Animality and Ecocriticism, guest edited by Scott Slovic, in the online journal Forum for World Literature Studies (Volume 6, Issue 1, 2014).  In the introduction to the section, Slovic …

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Endorsements for Zoopoetics

Book Cover Zoopoetics

The endorsements are finalized for Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry, as is the cover. “Zoopoetics is an original, lucid examination of how animals shape the human art of poetry. Drawing upon the foundational work of such scholars as Paul Shepard, Donna Haraway, and David Abram, Aaron M. Moe …

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The Inaugural Issue of Merwin Studies

MS VOl 1

We have launched the inaugural issue of Merwin Studies, and we invite you to peruse it: Each article explores some aspect of the journey throughout Merwin’s work, arriving in his 2008 The Shadow of Sirius. Ed Folsom explores air; Russell Brickey traces time and animals; M. P. Jones IV …

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Don’t Get Poetry?–Try Climbing It


Reading poetry is all about climbing. I mean it. People who climb trees, rock faces, or the sides of playground equipment have a much better chance of “getting” poetry than non-climbers. It’s all about finding out how your voice and your gestures move through a poem. The technical term for …

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Terministic Screens in Children’s Literature; or, How the Rabbit Peed in a Bush—a Reflection on Huck Finn


If the title of this blog-post hadn’t given it away, I imagine that you, like me, would never have seen the rabbit, let alone seen him peeing. I read The Trip to Panama, by Janosch (Horst Eckert), thirty times to my daughter before my wife pointed out the rabbit’s mischievous …

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Flyer for Zoopoetics Presentation @ Bundy Reading Room | January 18, 2013


In this presentation, I discuss some of the crucial underpinnings of zoopoetics, and then I highlight the zoopoetic dynamic in Cummings’ and Whitman’s work. At the end, I read from my forthcoming essay “Toward Zoopoetics: Rethinking Whitman’s ‘original energy’.”   Many thanks to Rebecca for making this flyer! For a …

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Reading with my Daughter: On Valerie Worth’s _Animal Poems_

Photograph of Steve Jenkins accompanying artwork

Along with many dads, I absolutely love reading to my daughter (who will be three in March).  We have shared hundreds and hundreds of books already, checking out five to ten each week. And like most dads who are also in literary studies, I can’t help gravitating to children’s books …

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Zoopoetics: Another Vision and Revision


In previous publications, blogs, and discussions with students, I have set forth a “two-fold” foci of zoopoetics. Both foci spin out of the etymology that suggests the makings of animals: 1) animals are makers in their own right, creating their own bodily poiesis; 2) some of the most innovative breakthroughs …

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