Arboreal Entanglements

Arboreal Entanglements: Botanic Imagination in Ecopoetry by Children

Wednesday 13 May, 2020 – Wednesday 13 May, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Newton Park Campus, Commons, G24

In this talk, Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak examines sample ecopoems on deforestation written by pupils attending John Clare Primary school in Helpston, UK.

These poems show that the child authors do not see trees as passive and non-sentient forms of life, or as symbols and metaphors, but create detailed, often intimate, portrayals of the relational agency of trees that co-shapes the existence of other beings.

The poems are also environmentalist, as they represent nature as threatened by human activity, thereby expressing the children's response to environmental problems outside the adult hierarchy of expertise, politics or moralism. As such, they also testify to children's creative participation in shaping the present and the future.

Justyna concludes her presentation by reflecting critically at her discussion of the children's texts as a preliminary step towards a more complex study of the poems, grounded in new materialism, relational ontologies, and post-qualitative methodologies.

About the speaker

Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wroclaw, Poland.

She is the author of Yes to Solidarity, No to Oppression: Radical Fantasy Fiction and Its Young Readers (2016). She is a Kosciuszko, Fulbright and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow. Since 2017 she has served as a member of the executive board of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature.

She is now a visiting researcher at Anglia Ruskin University, working on Ecopoetic Entanglements: Children’s Poetry Mobilizing John Clare’s Artistic Legacy, a project funded by the Bekker Programme of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA).

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