restricted access Rethinking Organic Metaphors in Poetry and Ecology: Rhizomes and Detritus Words in Oni Buchanan’s “Mandrake Vehicles”

This essay analyzes the relationship between organic form in poetry and organicism in ecology through a reading of Oni Buchanan’s “The Mandrake Vehicles” (2008). Buchanan revises organic form by replacing Romanticism’s single plant with rhizomatic root structures, with implications for the metaphors that drive much ecocritical thought. While traditional nature poetry’s “closed-circle” organicism sees both literature and ecology as ways of recuperating waste, Buchanan’s poems insist that organic growth and poetic composition both thrive through bursts of superfluous energy. Buchanan’s poems suggest that network metaphors and a poetics of excess might redirect the persistent drive toward organicist holism in ecocritical discourse.