New Issue: 251 — Poetics and Extraction

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Canadian Literature, Issue 251: Poetics and Extraction. Guest Editors Melanie Dennis Unrau and Max Karpinski write in their editorial:

The articles, statements of poetics, poems, and book reviews collected in this special issue on poetics and extraction speak to the theme from a range of perspectives—positioned, variously, as critical of, observing, opposed to, entangled in, harmed by, mimicking, enacting, subverting, averting, transforming, and finding alternatives to extraction and extractivism. As literary scholars, we are interested in the many ways these works apprehend and critique extractivism as a mode of racial capitalism (Gómez-Barris xvii), as a resource relation (Liboiron 145), and as a poetics; yet we are also interested, cautiously, in attending to what they contribute to envisioning good, non-extractive ways of living and being in relation. This would be to think of the work of literary scholarship in the face of ecological and social injustice as not only “the difficult task of understanding the character of [the] barriers” to materializing livable futures (Szeman and Wenzel 519), but also, with Liboiron again, as orienting ourselves “toward an ‘ought’ rather than an ‘is’” (154). Generalizing and speculating, we see a secondary theme both in the content of the issue and in our work and learning as editors: an ethics of care and love that emerges, like Whitehead’s formulation of “making love with the land,” as a poetics running against the current of extraction.

In the texts that follow, you will see instances of radical care, self-care, and love as responses or alternatives to extraction. These take the forms of land and water defence, care for family, harm mitigation, self-protection, refusal, reclamation, revision, manifesto, survival, learning what it means to be beholden to Indigenous law in the places where we live, and more. These submerged and emergent poetics, which must themselves be handled with respect and care, offer clues for how to orient ourselves and our critical and creative work toward new, more just horizons.

– Melanie Dennis Unrau and Max Karpinski, “Poetics and Extraction

This issue also features:

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