“Where are you going?”: Investigating Spatiality from a Translocal Perspective in Forrest Gander’s Core Samples from the World
Keywords:Ecopoetry, Haibun, Spatiality, Translocal space, Anthropocene, Heterogeneity, Environmental crisis, Fluidity, Inclusiveness, Plurality
An illustrious poet, editor and translator Forrest Gander probes into the conditions of modern human existence with a remarkable sensitivity towards the contemporary environmental challenges. The finalist for Pulitzer Prize 2012, Gander’s Core Samples from the World (2011) recounts his experience of distant, exotic places like China, Mexico, and Bosnia-Herzegovina from the perspective of an ecopoet writing in the Anthropocene. Composed from the objective viewpoint of a traveller the book exploits the Japanese Haibun form to juxtapose poetry, essays and photographs taken by his collaborators— Raymond Meeks, Graciela Iturbide and Lucas Foglia. Together the detached prose pieces, the disorienting poetry and the evocative photographs shed light on the severity of current ecological crisis and raise critical questions regarding one’s ecological self and identity. The present study aims to explore how Gander’s singular conception of space simultaneously instigates the readers to open dialogue regarding such pivotal questions and plays a seminal role in the evolution of his ecopoetic vision. This paper further aspires to analyse the ways in which Gander exploits his inclusive spatial engagement as a traveller to portray the world as a shared, connected space permanently altered by the reckless exploitation of nature and natural resources. It also intends to enquire the subsequent deterioration of the bond between human beings and their surroundings which ultimately results in a sense of fragmentation along with a loss of identity. The present study also scrutinizes how Gander’s unconventional imagination and delineation of translocal space which is essentially an open-ended, mobile and multilateral concept rather than a static geographical locale influence his engagement with contemporary environmental issues on various levels.
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