Though nature has always been present in literature as a theme, the scholarly study of their connection—green literary studies or ecocriticism—only really blossomed in the last twenty years. With the rise of environmentalism and in parallel to this scholarly interest, contemporary poets have consciously addressed ecological issues in their creative work. In Europe and North America, anthologies of ecopoetry and scholarly works on ecocriticism and ecopoetics attest to the growth of this field.
Latin American writers have also, in word and deed, long engaged with the environment, but their contributions are less known. As early as 1985, the Mexican poet Homero Aridjis successfully called for action against air pollution and lobbied to protect vulnerable species such as tortoises and whales. Aridjis’s activism is exemplary, but arguably his most enduring contribution—as that of many other ecopoets from the region—lies in his words. In an indirect yet powerful way, his eco-centered poetry teaches us about the interconnectedness of humans, others forms of life, and the environment. Ecocriticism convincingly argues that the ways we imagine nature and the environment shape our relationship to them. Poetry is a privileged medium in this process, for its ability to generate compelling images that reach deeper levels of consciousness. Making such poetry widely available is an invaluable tool in generating environmental awareness.
ecopoesia.com aims at bringing ecologically oriented poetry by distinguished Latin Americans, often scattered across many venues and untranslated, to the attention of both academic and general audiences. As a research and pedagogical tool, this online resource features biographical notes, critical commentaries, bibliographies, and a generous selection of poems, both in the original as well as in translation. We showcase established figures such as Homero Aridjis, Ernesto Cardenal, and José Emilio Pacheco, and lesser known voices, including Astrid Cabral, Leonardo Fróes, and Sérgio Medeiros, highlighting their unique environmental visions.
We seek to mobilize environmental insights from a key region to new audiences within the academy and beyond. Promoting poetry that emphasizes the interconnectedness of humans and nature, the project challenges audiences to rethink our responsibilities toward the environment.