Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form: Holding on to Proteus. Routledge, forthcoming.
Comprised of 84 aphorisms, this leaflet/booklet follows the “nameless yeast” of Moby-Dick in order to hold on to Proteus, but not with an aim to conquer, or to map, or to cage. Rather, the project seeks to discover what might open up in the unstable genre of aphorism, with its freedom to leap, linger, and leap again. These aphorisms were generative as they led to the insights that burgeoned forth toward Ecocriticism and the Poiesis of Form: Holding on to Proteus.
The general origin of poetry resides, in part, in the instinct to imitate. But it is an innovative imitation. An exploration of the oeuvres of Walt Whitman, E. E. Cummings, W. S. Merwin, and Brenda Hillman reveals the many places where an imitation of another species’ poiesis (Greek, makings) contributes to breakthroughs in poetic form. However, humans are not the only imitators in the animal kingdom. Other species, too, achieve breakthroughs in their makings through an attentiveness to the ways-of-being of other animals. For this reason, mimic octopi, elephants, beluga whales, and many other species join the exploration of what zoopoetics encompasses. Zoopoetics provides further traction for people interested in the possibilities when and where species meet.
“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 uses the Derridian concept of ‘zoopoetics’ to deepen our understanding of language and our understanding of what animals mean to humans. Without other species, we might be essentially voiceless. This is a significant study of ‘animality,’ one of the central paradigms in the field of ecocriticism.”
—Scott Slovic, editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
“Moe’s Zoopoetics lucidly demonstrates that poetry is a shared space in which human and other animals may ‘stretch toward’ each other, a space in which many of our best poets in English attend to nonhuman poiesis. This is a timely and important contribution to ecocriticism and animal studies.”
—Helena Feder, author of Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture