A chance to respond informally to the content of the How2 journal. We are interested in comments and reactions to work that you find here and encourage you to respond to and to extend the questions and debates which interest you in our latest issue and in material contained in our extensive archive. We welcome further discussions of modernist and innovative poetry by women that you feel are relevant to our concerns.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ecopoetics Postcard: “The "Outside Us": Woman as Landscape” by Addie Tsai

Yeats once wrote that for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us. Yet, what happens when man is raised with a kind of entitled position to state that women are part of the “outside us”? In other words, the crisis of eco-feminism, for me, is that women are often, unspokenly, implicitly, considered a part of the landscape. Whether through exploitation, subjectification, degradation, throughout many cultures, women exist as thing to be defined by man. And as a woman born of an American mother and a Chinese father, also as exploited through the exoticism of the half-breed, the hybrid, the born of both lands but neither native, neither claimed as one’s own. And additionally, as a woman born a twin, also exploited through the subject-object crisis of that thing, those things, which are twinned: twin beds, twin engines, twin jets, duplicate images, Doublemint Gum, the Bopsey Twins, carbon copies, a pair of any two objects that are, in every detail, the same.

In general terms, I am most interested in composing (and reading) a poetics that merges the object with the subject without any clear distinction. In my own consciousness as both person being perceived and perceiver, I have found the boundaries between the two blurred and merging. I could spend years knowing a person as an individual, outside of my racial lines, outside of my gender-specific distinctions, outside of my twinning. Yet, the moment any of those elements were introduced alongside me, suddenly there I changed from [she] to [it], from self-contained to open for discussion and comparison. In my work, I attempt to force that merging of the natural/physical world and the emotional interior of the speaker—that seems to be an honest portrayal of eco-poetics as it relates to the human condition.

This postcard forms part of the forthcoming feature on Ecopoetics in the next issue of HOW2.

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