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Biological Media: The Poetry of Chemicals and Microbiomes in the Anthropocene.
Start Date: 11/13/2017Start Time: 4:30 PM
End Date: 11/13/2017End Time: 6:00 PM

Event Description:

Canadian poet and ecocritic Adam Dickinson presents Biological Media: The Poetry of Chemicals and Microbiomes in the Anthropocene.

Through the proliferation of plastics and chemical pollution more generally, petrochemicals constitute forms of social, material, and biological writing. How might contemporary writers respond to the capacity of petrochemical hyperobjects to influence social formations or alter human metabolism? How do endocrine disrupting chemicals put pressure on literary forms and genres?

Arguing for the critical potential of an ecopoetics that mixes science and art (through pataphysics and biosemiotics), this presentation will include a reading and a discussion of the poetics and research involved with two related books of poetry: The Polymers, which is an imaginary science project that combines the discourses, theories, and experimental methods of the science of plastic materials with the language and culture of plastic behaviour, and Anatomic, which involves chemical and microbial testing on my body in order to see the chemicals in my blood and urine, as well as the western-diet-influenced microbes in my stomach, as forms of media expressing my own strange intimacy with the energy sources of my historical moment.

Adam Dickinson is a poet and a professor of poetry. His creative and academic writing has primarily focused on intersections between poetry and science as a way of exploring new ecocritical perspectives and alternative modes of poetic composition. His book, The Polymers, which is an imaginary science project that combines the discourses, theories, and experimental methods of the science of plastic materials with the language and culture of plastic behaviour, was a finalist for both the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.

He has published two previous books, Kingdom, Phylum (also nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry) and Cartography and Walking (nominated for an Alberta Book Award). His scholarly work (supported by SSHRC) brings together research in innovative poetics, ecocriticism, biosemiotics, and pataphysics. His current research-creation project (also supported by SSHRC) involves him testing his blood and body for chemicals and microbes in order to produce a book of poetry that reframes the body as a being overwritten by toxic chemicals yet constantly subject (in necessary ways) to the biosemiotic interference of other microbial lifeforms.

He has been featured at prominent international literary festivals, such as Poetry International in Rotterdam, The Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in Toronto, and the Oslo International Poetry Festival in Norway. Adam welcomes potential student supervisions on topics in poetry and poetics, environmental writing, science and literature, and creative writing.
Location Information:
*Swarthmore College - Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility  (View Map)
3-5 Whittier Place
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Room: Lang Center, Keith Room
Contact Information:
Name: Katie Price
Phone: 610-328-7780
Email: kprice1@swarthmore.edu
Open To
The Public

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