Reading Corporeality in the Climate Change Era: A Comparative Study of Seamus Heaney’s and Hua Hai’s Ecological Poetry

Chao Xie

Published Date: Feb 28, 2022


Few critics have paid serious attention to the corporeality depicted in the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney’s climate change poetry, despite the fact that the body has become an increasingly crucial topic in the climate change era. In a situation similar to Heaney’s, the Chinese ecopoet Hua Hai has stressed the mutual transformations between different forms of bodies in his works, but there have been few studies on Hua’s ideas of the body. These ideas are closely related to Confucianism and Daoism in particular. This article, referencing corporeal theories in the West and the East, is a comparative reading of Heaney’s and Hua’s ecological poetry against the backdrop of climate change. By representing various bodies, be they human or nonhuman, as interconnected and interdependent in different poetic ways, both poets provide fresh insights into the idea of corporeality, which is important to address in relation to the ongoing climate crises.


animal suffering, affect, material agency, embodied experience, qi

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)