Published in Environmental Philosophy, Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring April 1, 2008, pages 23-36.
Copyright © 2008 International Association for Environmental Philosophy. For their copyright policy see Submission Guidelines.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Eleanor D. Helms was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
There is a sense in which poetry can re-inscribe humans in their natural surroundings, but language—even poetic language—is also always problematic. In conversation with and in response to recent works by David Abram, I will delineate at least two ways in which poetic language separates and distinguishes humans from nature. I also argue for the importance of what is implicit or invisible (as opposed to tangible and sensuous). Language is a mode of human responsibility for the world, not just a sign or result of being part of it.