In this Book

summary
Janet Kauffman describes "eco-dementia" as a paradoxical condition of humanity-a love of the living world while simultaneously causing and suffering from its destruction. Like other dementias, losses are profound. We lose touch, we forget. We don't recognize our own home-the habitat that sustains us. What has driven us to exploit more and more resources, even when risking self-annihilation? Eco-dementia is not nature poetry, but an immersive language in the tangle of the living world that begs the question: can we survive this relationship? The poems in Eco-dementia took shape in one decade of the author's life. In three sections, Kauffman reflects on insanities and devastations, from the personal to the global. From her father's Alzheimer's and the ravaged world of his mind to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, Hurricane Katrina, and toxins in Lake Erie, as well as the planetary-wide ecological catastrophe of climate change. Yet despite this devastation, it is possible to surround ourselves in light and air, to touch the tall grasses we love, to step into water and shade and feel an intense, momentary joy. Kauffman's poems show the bliss within the elemental richness of the natural world and also the violent distortions and grief at its devastation. Like learning a new language, we can see and hear words, sometimes understanding so clearly and other times not at all. Or as Kauffman's father puts it, "I know where you live, but I don't know who you are." The language of these poems is the physical material of a damaged world. Readers of modern and experimental poetry will treasure this collection.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Title Page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Fern verse
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. 1. Eco-dementia
  1. Before writing the large letters
  2. p. 1
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  1. Until the flood and dollbaby
  2. p. 2
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  1. Practice for outside situations
  2. p. 3
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  1. Caught between rocks
  2. p. 4
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  1. An elaboration of stalk
  2. p. 5
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  1. Decaying to more
  2. p. 6
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  1. Every shot-through
  2. p. 7
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  1. Cut the lure
  2. p. 8
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  1. No answering at this time
  2. p. 9
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  1. The whirlwind times
  2. p. 10
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  1. Abandoned
  2. p. 11
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  1. Eco-dementia
  2. p. 12
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  1. Wanting ice
  2. p. 13
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  1. Instead of flying in water
  2. p. 14
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  1. Their books would write us
  2. p. 15
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  1. Keratella off shore
  2. p. 16
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  1. Referring to lowliest
  2. p. 17
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  1. Such winds
  2. p. 18
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  1. Zooplankton and more
  2. p. 19
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  1. Glossed over
  2. p. 20
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  1. Air here
  2. p. 21
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  1. If you wake under cover
  2. p. 22
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  1. Virtues enumerated add up
  2. p. 23
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  1. Languish
  2. p. 24
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  1. 2. Undercurrent
  1. Undercurrent
  2. pp. 27-30
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  1. 3. The Knife in the Fish
  1. By the time you think weaponry
  2. p. 33
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  1. A warring machine
  2. p. 34
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  1. Upended by error
  2. p. 35
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  1. The knife in the fish
  2. p. 36
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  1. He’s seen it crawl
  2. p. 37
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  1. Many small children
  2. p. 38
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  1. The blur of
  2. p. 39
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  1. Uncalled-for
  2. p. 40
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  1. Slashed
  2. p. 41
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  1. Dodder is no daughter
  2. p. 42
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  1. Before it took hold
  2. p. 43
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  1. The devil’s walking stick
  2. p. 44
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  1. It is
  2. p. 45
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  1. The same spike driven or pulled
  2. p. 46
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  1. Stress position
  2. p. 47
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  1. My father tells me
  2. p. 48
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  1. The hand of the sassafras
  2. p. 49
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  1. The drifting down
  2. p. 50
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  1. Xylem is the up pipe
  2. p. 51
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  1. Interrogation
  2. p. 52
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  1. Proliferation
  2. p. 53
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  1. In his arms
  2. p. 54
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  1. The original brain
  2. p. 55
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  1. Oh, corporeal
  2. p. 56
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  1. In the aftermath
  2. p. 57
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  1. Long knives are shelved
  2. p. 58
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  1. A body walking in clothes
  2. p. 59
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  1. Some intermittency
  2. p. 60
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  1. Reparations
  2. p. 61
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  1. Composed
  2. pp. 62-63
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 64
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814343821
MARC Record
OCLC
1001979627
Launched on MUSE
2017-11-04
Language
English
Open Access
No
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