Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Joan Baranow, Ph.D.

First Reader

Judy Halebsky, Ph.D.

Second Reader

Chase Clow, Ph.D.

Abstract

This paper explores the question: how can a poet write an ecologically aware poem about global warming? Global warming impacts everything on earth, most visibly the glaciers melting away before our eyes. Adopting Aldo Leopold’s environmental philosophy of thinking like a mountain, the poet may describe the impact of global warming upon the mountain, glacier, flora and fauna, that form an interconnected web of life. A poem that thinks like a mountain already exists: Marianne Moore’s “An Octopus” (published in 1924), which takes its title from the system of glaciers (or octopus of ice) on Mt. Rainier. For a contemporary poet to think like a mountain, he or she may explore the retreat of glaciers and disappearance of species attributable to global warming. But translating science into poetry may not convey the urgency of the situation. To make his or her poem truly impactful, the poet may employ a symbol of environmental apocalypse in existence since 1954: Godzilla. Introducing Godzilla to Marianne Moore’s octopus of ice represents a sound theoretical approach for the contemporary poet to take in writing an impactful, ecologically aware, poem about global warming.

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