Whether the subject ñ or target ñ is the whole earth (global warming, climate change, extinction of species, planetary catastrophe) or landscapes, homelands and cities (polluting rivers and seas, fouling the air, felling trees and forests), there are poems here to alert and alarm anyone willing to read or listen.
Other poems celebrate the rapidly vanishing natural world, or lament what has already been lost, or even find a glimmer of hope through efforts to conserve, recycle and rethink.
Earth Shattering's words of warning include contributions from many great writers of the past as well as leading contemporary poets from around the world, ranging from Wordsworth, Clare, Hopkins, Hardy, Rilke and Charlotte Mew to Wendell Berry, Helen Dunmore, Joy Harjo, Denise Levertov, W.S. Merwin and Gary Snyder. This is the first anthology to show the full range of ecopoetry, from the wilderness poetry of ancient China to 21st-century native American poetry, with postcolonial and feminist perspectives represented by writers such as Derek Walcott, Ernesto Cardinal, Oodgeroo and Susan Griffin.
Ecopoetry goes beyond traditional nature poetry to take on distinctly contemporary issues, recognising the interdependence of all life on earth, the wildness and otherness of nature, and the irresponsibility of our attempts to tame and plunder nature. The poems dramatise the dangers and poverty of a modern world perilously cut off from nature and ruled by technology, self-interest and economic power.
"Any poetry anthology, in any field, inevitably owes something to those anthologies that have gone before it. But with Earth Shattering, Neil Astley has set out to do something rather different ñ not just moving us well beyond the canon of ënature poetry' (which a number of other anthologies have also sought to do over the last few years), but by digging much deeper into the complexities of the historical relationship between humankind and the living Earth that sustains us, reflected in a highly contemporaneous and politically relevant way. That will certainly appeal to environmental activists who will already be familiar with many of the poets featured in Earth Shattering. But they will discover a whole lot more than that in this astonishingly eclectic and wide-ranging anthology... The work of each of the poets featured in the anthology is properly contextualised, the significance of their wider work briefly explained, and hugely helpful insights provided into motivation and, occasionally, interpretation... As our world's politicians and corporations orchestrate our headlong rush towards Eco-Armageddon, poetry may seem like a hopeless gesture. But Earth Shattering shows that the power of poetry is in the detail, in the force of each individual poem, in every poem's effect on every reader. And anyone whose resolve is stirred will strengthen the collective call for change."
Jonathan Porritt, Sofia