Here is one framing thought from Gander and Kinsella’s “Prefatory Note”:
“However, I should state that I believe the ‘I’ should always be under pressure: under pressure in what constitutes the self and under pressure in how it operates as messenger and witness.” (ix)
How do you see this being-under-pressure play out in the rest of the book?
Edouard Glissant writes that the poetics of Relation is “[a] poetics that is latent, open, multilingual in intention, directly in contact with everything possible” (32). This poetics involves “giving-on-and-with” (33), rather than comprehending in the sense of grasping (17, 26); see the translator’s note for more on this phrase donner-avec (xiv). Glissant writes that peoples “cannot . . . ‘give-on-and-with’ until they reach the point at which they go beyond assenting to their linear drive alone and consent to global dynamics—practicing a self-break and a reconnection” (33). Please choose one of these questions: Where do you see “giving-on-and-with” happening in the world? Or: Do you see writers/thinkers we’ve encountered in this class “practicing a self-break and a reconnection” as Glissant’s talking about?
The readings this week focus on environments, socionatures, and ecocultural landscapes that have been drastically modified by human engineering, pollution, and manipulation of biota. How do Alaimo, Sze et al., and / or the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe articulate what a restorative or justice-seeking relation might look like in the wake of these transformations?
This week we consider the role of waves in forming boundaries between land and water (Raichlen), a classification scheme for defining ecological boundaries at different scales (Strayer et al.), and competing definitions of scale and environmental justice in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Sze et al.)—this delta being a transition zone between land and water, and salt and fresh water, whose edges have been reshaped by settler infrastructure and economic projects.
Thinking across these texts, how do boundaries drawn around or between natural and social phenomena inform sense-making practices along shorelines?
Anzaldúa introduces “nepantla”, a place that is no place, as simultaneously an in-between space and a bridge that joins worlds (28-9). In Rodriguez’s Concrete River, what different worlds, realities, or consciousnesses do you find? What are their boundaries like, and what bridges or joins them?
What are the various senses of finish (or finished, as in over, dead, done for) in “Fluid Dynamics: Water, Power, and the Reengineering of Seattle’s Duwamish River”? Contrast the sense of time implied in these discourses of finality with the persistence and resurgence suggested in Thrush’s quoting of Terry Tafoya: “perhaps a thousand years from now, Indians will discover the decaying remains of the Space Needle.”
Simon Ortiz tells us, “The song as language is a way of touching” (9), and “the song was the road from outside of himself to inside—which is perception—and from inside of himself to outside—which is expression” (12). If you accept expression as a means of perception, what are the consequences for your own writing? for your own perceiving? for your reading of the perception-rich poems of Marianne Moore?