ecopoetry – a ‘scrap’book for sustainable solutions

by Rikki Seddon

It can no longer be denied by anyone that our planet is in dire straits because of humans’ selfish endeavours. We are pumping carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere which is warming our planet, messing with the natural cycles of animals and plants to feed our growing population and filling the seas with plastic remnants from our throw-away society.

Rita Wong’s ‘forage’ is a provocative collective work of poetry that attempts to make us aware that these actions are dangerous and we are poisoning each other and our home. We are asked to consider our roles in others’ lives and question what we buy and do; to re-evaluate the choices that we make on a daily basis.

The distinctive use of imagery is the focus of this collection. A mountain of motherboards adorns the front cover and the poems eloquently assault the reader with ‘roaches and rats crawling through cucumber rinds’ (perverse subsidies) and ‘cheeks suffused with virtual glow’ (‘Thinking of a Fair One‘). Titles like fluorine, opium, and canola queasy are directly connected to the content and leave us without question that these poems are not supposed to be open-ended and ostentatiously interpretive; they are an artistic exploration of real world concerns through a medium rarely associated with the scientific community. Yet despite this fact it is written for scientists, economists, businessmen and artists alike with Wong acting as translator and moderator. At the end of the book are many acknowledgements and references to articles, books and papers from where her information is gathered, separating her poetry from others’.

The poems vary in length and arrangement, each influencing the pace of the reading. Several are tightly packed paragraphs with little spacing between words and no punctuation, subliminally conveying that land space is limited and our time is a precious commodity in such a fast paced world. Enclosing several of the poems are quotes or thoughts hand-written by Wong, encouraging us to do the same, expand on her work, delve into further reading and thus initiates a discussion between herself, the reader and her silent partners.

Technology, refuse, genetically modified foods, drugs, cultural degradation, land ownership and commercialism are just a sample of the problems at the heart of Wong’s work. Each poem is compartmentalised to tackle one difficult issue from a spectrum, but together the multifaceted collection is unified by a common theme of how we impact the Earth.

Word Count 401

Rachael ‘Rikki’ Seddon

5th April 2011,  10:25pm

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One Comment to “ecopoetry – a ‘scrap’book for sustainable solutions”

  1. Another great post. Thanks for sharing this. Spending time sitting down to writing short stories and poems is something I truly enjoy in life. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    A Great Day for Spring – Poem

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