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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Kate Rigby (Literary Studies)


Pastoral under Pressure: Ecopoetics in the “Antipodes”

Prof. Dr. Kate Rigby
Monash University
Literary Studies
External Senior Fellow

Pastoral under Pressure: Ecopoetics in the “Antipodes”
When Jan 11, 2016
from 12:15 PM to 01:45 PM
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
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What happens to the poetic idiom of European pastoral when it is transported, along with a variety of colonisers, human and otherwise, to southeastern Australia? This question is the focus for the third chapter of my current book on ecopoetics, in which I discuss the work of the poet, and sometime farmer, of the Monaro plains region of New South Wales, David Campbell (1915-1979). In this talk, I will show how Campbell puts pressure on the pastoral in order to voice a distinctively Australian experience of rural life, while disclosing also how the rural environment that he loved was itself under pressure from the economic and technological exigencies of post-war industrial farming regimes. Turning to one of his later poems, “The Anguish of Ants” (1972), I argue that Campbell was moving towards a “post-pastoral” poetics of decolonisation, inspired both by the resurgent Aboriginal land rights movement and growing ecological concerns.