Poetry, Ecology and Art Symposium, 28th July 2016 

An afternoon symposium presenting new research and creative work in the ecological arts and humanities. The symposium was organised with the support of IASH and the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network. IASH:  EEHN:

Abstracts and Speaker Biographies 

Dr David Farrier: How do industrial forests think? Pine Trees, Pylons, and Peter Larkin’s Plantationocene Poetics

According to Anna Tsing, “the malevolent hegemony of scale” is the defining characteristic of the form of colonial modernity she calls the plantationocene. Modernity, she argues, began with the sugar plantation, and the cultivation of alienation and uniformity in the service of an expansionism figured (even today) as ‘growth’. I will examine how the modernist poetics of Peter Larkin–his use of justified prose blocks, uncanny grammar, and arrangement of entities in phase–allows us to consider the appearance of a networked world of interlaced organic and inorganic infrastructure, and thereby to amend Eduardo Kohn’s question: how do industrial forests think?

David Farrier is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Edinburgh. He convenes the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network, and is writing a book about deep time and environmental crises in contemporary poetry.

Alexandra Campbell: Archipelagic Poetics: Kenneth White and Michael Longley’s Littoral Landscapes

This paper charts a course through a collection of archipelagic poetics, revealing the interlinking ideologies, geographies and ecologies of coastal and island environments explored in the works of Kenneth White and Michael Longley. The paper seeks to extend existing ecocritical research regarding Irish and British literature that has drawn attention to the ‘progressive project of literary remapping’ currently underway across the constitutive spaces of the Atlantic archipelago, suggesting that island and coastal sites provide a site for the confluence of contemporary concerns with environmental and poetic practice.

Alexandra Campbell is a final year PhD student at the University of Glasgow. Her thesis is titled ‘Archipelagic poetics: Island Ecologies in Atlantic Worlds’ and explores the cultural cartographies and political geographies present in the works of contemporary Scottish and Irish poets. She is the general editor of a new digital platform for artists, academics and activists working with the environmental humanities and currently teaches in the English Literature and Scottish Literature departments at Glasgow University.

Katy Hastie: Fleshy acts of Symbolic (re)storage

This practise-based talk will explore artistic approaches to object-writing and site writing inspired by creative art-writing and cognitive archaeology as a method to ‘let objects speak’. With specific reference to work composed in response to the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities sponsored Creative Art writing workshops, site visits to Skye in relation to the Atelier project based at the University of Edinburgh, and an in-progress project with Hebridean arts organisation Atlas Arts’s NEO // NEO exhibition, this talk will share and discuss writing made in the course of these ventures and the ethical, political, artistic and mimetic challenges they posed.

Katy Hastie is a writer, tutor and editor from Glasgow currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Glasgow. She writes short fiction, essays and experimental poetry based in Glasgow. Her work has appeared in From Glasgow to Saturn, Zest, The Kelvingrove Review and Gutter. She is currently working on a collection of poems and a longer work of fiction.

Dr Colin Herd: Ecodeviance: Emotion and Conjunction in CAConrad’s (Soma)tic Poetics

In Precarious Rhapsody: Semiocapitalism and the Pathologies of the Post-Alpha Generation (2009), Franco “Bifo” Berardi distinguishes between “conjunction” and “connection” as modes of interaction, where “connection” is algorithmic and syntactic and “conjunction” depends on “the intention, the context, the shade, the unsaid”. Focusing on CA Conrad’s ECODEVIANCE (Soma)tics for a Future Wilderness (2014) and A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (2012), this paper considers how (Soma)tic poetics emanate outwards from the poem to ritualised poem-events, through which the poems become, to use Berardi’s phrase, “singular, unrepeatable communication[s] between round bodies”.

Colin Herd is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Lila Matsumoto: Horizons Bagged with every Slip of Geranium

Chorographia means a ‘description of the country’, from the Ancient Greek ‘choros’, country, and ‘grapho’, to write. Angus Fletcher has recently used this term in his conceptualisation of an environmental poetic, which recognises how the social landscape figures as part of the total landscape. In this poetry reading, Lila will read new ‘chorographic’ poems including a series inspired by medical artefacts from the Wellcome Collection.

Lila Matsumoto’s publications include Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and Allegories from my Kitchen (Sad Press, 2015). In her current practice-based research, she is investigating the relationship between poetics and visual art, with the view of activating awareness of materials, matter, and bodies in, and of, poetry.

Alice Tarbuck: ‘The amber/unutterable’: Thomas A. Clark and Samuel Palmer’

Thomas A. Clark is a poet and visual artist, born in Greenock in 1944. In his 1969 collection of found poetry, some particulars, published by south street publications, he uses the text of The Life and Letters of Samuel Palmer by A.H. Palmer as an originating text, drawing out aspects of what Ross Hair terms ‘visionary concerns’, common to both the poet and the Romantic landscape painter. This paper investigates Clark and Palmer’s shared concerns regarding the potential for, and limitations of, ‘vision’ for understanding the natural world.

Alice Tarbuck is a PhD candidate at the University of Dundee, where she is undertaking a collaborative doctoral degree, funded by the AHRC, and in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library. Her research is on the poetry and practice of Scottish poet and artist Thomas A. Clark.

ice edge

Landscaping Change Conference, March 2016

Exploring the transformation, reconstitution and disruption of environments through the arts and humanities and social science.

Bath Spa University, Newton Park Campus: 29, 30, 31 March 2016

Sponsored by the British Academy and hosted by the Writing and the Environment Research Centre, BSU

Keynote Speakers:

Stephen Daniels, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Nottingham

Christopher Jelley, poet and organiser of Storywalks and Poetry Pin

Poet-in-Situ: Camilla Nelson


This conference aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion and performative evaluation of landscapes under processes of change. Changes in landscapes may be brought about by regeneration and conservation initiatives, large scale climatic and local environmental events, business and industrial pressures, or collective grass-root activities. Environmental change inevitably impacts on local people, whose economic, psychological and physical needs may be entangled with the temporal, material and social experience of place. Global relationships are also involved in and affected by the constant process of ecological, economic and cultural reconstitution. We seek papers and presentations that aim to deepen understanding of the social, environmental, cultural, and affective repercussions of landscape change from a range of perspectives: including the humanities, geography and environmental disciplines, politics and social science, non-academic community groups, policy makers, NGOs, charities, and creative practitioners.


The conference took place over three days and two evenings, with a mixture of performances, talks, workshops, guided walks, art and research papers.

Download the programme here:

Landscaping Change programme


Follow the conference as it happened on our Storify

About our speakers


Stephen Daniels is Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Nottingham and Director of the AHRC Landscape and Environment programme. He has published widely on themes including: the history of landscape representation, design and management; the landscape arts of eighteenth century Britain; and the history of geographical knowledge and imagination. Prof. Daniels is a Fellow of the British Academy.

C Jelley

Christopher Jelley is an innovative creative who works across new media in traditional ways. Referred to as poet technologist, his works tether poems and words to landscape and specific locations. All of Mr Jelley’s work has a thread of quirkiness which is pinned deep in the heart of a Storyteller. He teases curious answers from pupils during his literacy workshops with Storywalks where his bespoke web app unchains literacy and enables teachers to tether their words beyond the classroom walls.
The Poetry Pin Project was the first to tether Poetry to the grounds at Hinkley C in Somerset, the UK’s first new nuclear build in decades. This project has its first book launch October 2015 (Fly Catcher Press) called A Walk Down the Rift.



Dr Camilla Nelson is a poet, text-artist, researcher and collaborator across a range of disciplines.  Her collaboration with Rhys Trimble, ‘Tidal Voices’, was short-listed for the Tidal Bay Swansea Lagoon World-First Art Commission (Cape Farewell) and her first full collection Apples & Other Languages (forthcoming with Knives Forks and Spoons) was long-listed for the 2015 Melita Hume Poetry Prize.  She is poetry editor for The Goose, founding editor of Singing Apple Press and senior lecturer on the new Arts & Ecology MA at Schumacher College (UK).