Juliana Spahr’s Anticolonial Ecologies
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This chapter focuses on environmental-political entanglements in Juliana Spahr’s work. The first part examines two place-based poetic essays from Well Then There Now. Whereas “Dole Street” consists of narrative history, photography, and personal memories about the postcolonial city, “2199 Kalia Road” traces the relationship between neocolonialism and environmental decay. Ergin uses these essays to provoke a discussion of the relationship between bodies, ecologies, and politics, and to explore the ways in which postcolonial mili/tourism interferes with Hawaiian ecology. The second part focuses on Spahr’s anticolonial poems from Well Then There Now and investigates material-discursive entanglements in “Things of Each Possible Relation Hashing Against One Another,” “Sonnets,” and “Some of We and the Land That Was Never Ours.” Ergin shows that these poems foreground interconnected systems and irregularities of identification to resist colonial taxonomies and to expose the eco-ontological ambiguity at the heart of all existence.
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