• Stuart Cooke Griffith University




Collapse carries the weight of catastrophe. But what will collapse, and for whom will it be catastrophic? With the decline of the human, other species might get the opportunity to reconfigure things—but rather than some kind of misanthropic dream, the possibilities of these emergent relations are a source of inspiration and hope. If there is a way to erode the sanctity of the human subject without plunging head-first into fantasies of annihilation and extinction, what kinds of relationships might we discover, or recover—with those who inhabit us, and with those who share our habitats? What kinds of languages would these relationships require? What kinds of poetics? My inclination is towards a relocation of the divine within these emergent networks—to reinfuse matter with spirit, yes, but also to demolish structures of transcendence. The new heaven would be fecund and sloppy as a mud flat rather than abstracted into the pure white zero of a holy moon. But as pleasing (or relieving) as this idea might be, the place to which it refers will remain distant from us while the bodies that compose our ‘us’ remain oblivious to the symbiotic co-constitutions with which they’re composed. Many cultures have developed conceptual technologies to properly articulate these enmeshments—totemist, animist materialisms which are glaringly absent from too much Western intellectual history, but which important work in the environmental humanities and elsewhere has begun to rectify.


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Author Biography

Stuart Cooke, Griffith University

Stuart Cooke is a poet, critic and translator. His most recent poetry collection, Lyre (UWAP, 2019), translated an ecology of animals, plants and landforms from across Australasia. He is also the co-editor of Transcultural Ecocriticism (Bloomsbury, 2021). He lives in Brisbane, Australia, where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literary Studies at Griffith University.