In their geneaology of extractivism in “What do we talk about when we talk about extractivism?”, Szeman and Wenzel generate several provocations. One of these urges a strict usage of the term “extractivism” in order to prevent it from becoming an empty signifier for general use by scholars; another brings forward the perennial (but valid) lament concerning just what it is humanities scholarship can do in ‘the real world’. This article will take up those challenges to the field as they pertain to the Canadian-American poet Al Moritz's Mahoning. After defining terms and sketching the scholarship previously conducted in poetics conduced in the energy humanities, I return some challenges back to Szeman and Wenzel from the realm of poetics. Moritz's work is offered as a rich field of inquiry in theme, style, and tradition, suggesting how his poetic could be ‘non-instrumentalized’ to make ‘real change’ in the ‘real world.’
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