Much of the language that makes up Better Nature--the first book-length poetry collection by writer and academic Fenn Stewart--is drawn from a diary that Walt Whitman wrote while travelling through Canada at the end of the nineteenth century.
But rather than waxing poetic about the untouched Great White North, Stewart inlays found materials (early settler archives, news stories, email spam, fundraising for environmental NGOs, and more) to present a unique view of Canada's "pioneering" attitude towards "wilderness"--one that considers deeper issues of the settler appropriation of Indigenous lands, the notion of terra nullius, and the strategies and techniques used to produce a "better nature" (that is, one that better serves the nation).
Praise for Better Nature:
"Better Nature figures and re-figures Walt Whitman where he lives: not only within history, within our cross-national North American imaginary, but in how he still speaks and signals Manifest Destiny. Stewart's riotous, gorge(ous) verses set us sailing in decolonial waters, speaking truth to power in vertiginous remixes of environmental NGO and "fast fashion" emails, spam, and Whitman's own Canadian travel diary. With linguistic fervor, dancing intellect, and blissful urgency Stewart unveils the seemingly everyday horrors of our cruelly optimistic (would be) unsettling lands. --Liz Howard, Griffin Poetry Prize-winning author of Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent
Events in Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver.
Electronic ARCs available.
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