Fri, October 30, 2020
5:00 AM – 6:00 AM CET
Organized by Australasian Post-Humanities
Erin McFayden will examine the human desire to voice animal subjectivity, and the limitations of our power to do so. In works such as Les Murray’s Translations from the Natural World and John Kinsella’s The Jaguar’s Dream, a lyric impulse to speak from the subject position of the animal taps into a long Anglophone poetic tradition of ‘translating’ or ‘voicing’ our more-than-human companions. With recourse to Latour’s actor-network theory and the object-oriented ontology of Jane Bennet, I argue that contemporary Australian attempts to translate nature into lyric poetry leave a gap — that is, they always contain a little failure — which signals not human power over the non-human world, but rather our embeddedness within an ecology which eludes our understanding and control. This is a poetics that calls for an ontological humility, for a relinquishing and redistribution of power, and for an enchanted environmentalism.