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Chiming for the Clime: 'GLocal' dynamics and aesthetic trends in climate change poetry

Masamaka, Jerome (2022) Chiming for the Clime: 'GLocal' dynamics and aesthetic trends in climate change poetry. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This creative dissertation comprises a critical study of climate change poetry and a poetry collection in which I illustrate some of the influences that place my poetry in this growing body of work. Climate change poetry has emerged recently in response to calls from prominent climate activists to poets to contribute an emotional spark towards climate action. The poems that have emerged in answer to these calls manifest aesthetic innovations, such as verse journalism, which I discuss as defining characteristics of climate change poetry.

The exegesis has two main foci. First, I discuss Andrew Motion’s poetry to argue that the “integrated lyric” perspective that climate change poets, including myself, work with is contingent on the artistic representation of the climate crisis as a ‘glocal’ experience. To illustrate further, I analyse representative climate change poems from the Global North and South to examine the crosscurrent of diverging and intersecting emphases and approaches in the way poets address climate change. Second, I draw on Ramazani’s concept of “intergeneric poetry” to discuss recent climate change poems. I propose that “news poetry” and “docupoetry” (two aspects of verse journalism) are key genre defining characteristics of climate change poetry.

My creative component manifests influences from Ghanaian folklore, the news media and classical mythology to envisage the climate crisis as a global conundrum rather than the anthropogenic excesses of just a few people. I call my artistic approach the “Poetics of Interactivity.”

Ultimately, this dissertation concludes that the call for poets to respond to climate change has produced a significant body of work that manifests unique generic character. My creative component contributes to this new genre, merging some of its characteristic features with my own artistic idioms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Trees, Kathryn and Grehan, Helena
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