Dismantling Disaster, Death, and Survival in Ecopoetry

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

The Philippines, a country situated close to the equator and in the Pacific Ring of Fire, has been constantly hit by natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and more. With a good number of local poetry dealing with these natural disasters as themes, is it possible for ecopoetry to provide readers with clear ideas on how to survive these catastrophic events? The major objective of this study is to explore the role of literature in promoting survival through the exploration of death and disaster in poetry. To do this, the different versions of disaster in the poetry of Merlie Alunan and Abercio V. Rotor are analyzed using the concept of “dismantling.” Dismantling involves surfacing the “scars of history” in poetry to create an ambience of disaster, which will link the dismantling of the (inside) feelings of the human being with the (outside) physical experience to clear a space for survival. Here, ecopoetry serves as a catalyst for sustainable thoughts which can be calls to action for preventing future disasters. Moreover, ecopoetry is also a “witness to history” wherein writing about disasters is acknowledged as an act of surviving, conquering trauma, and providing a personal perspective to historical survival accounts. Ecopoetry, then, is also demonstrated as a “time capsule” of certain tragedies – one that may be more accurate than memory can ever be.


Keywords

disaster studies, ecocriticism, poetry, sustainability, trauma

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

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
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)

Faruk
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)