"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Writer's Craft: Perspectives on Irish Environmental Writing

The timing here is actually pretty good: we're reading Tim Robinson in my English 150 class and tomorrow Bret and I are off to Fargo/Moorhead for the American Conference of Irish Studies: our panel is titled "The Writer's Craft: Perspectives on Irish Environmental Writing." We will be joined by the distinguished Eamonn Wall.

Here's our panel description: Ecocriticism, which has been popular in the United States for many years, has recently made the transition to a viable lens through which Irish literature can be studied. Christine Cusick's Out of the Earth (Cork University Press, 2010) and Eamonn Wall's Writing the Irish West (Notre Dam UP, 2011) are the most recent examples. While ecocriticism is a valuable literary tool, another, similar view should also be considered: how are these writers crafting their various works with an eye towards a particular environmental reading? How are essayists, poets, and fiction writers using place (all definitions of "place") to influence characters, plot, or language? This panel aims to explore the use of place and environment form the craft side of Irish writing.

My paper is titled "If all the sky were paper and all the sea were ink': Tim Robinson's Linguistic Ecology" (I'm representing the nonfiction perspective.)

Bret will be speaking on "'What we claim and what claims us': Exploring the 'Eco' in Theo Dorgan's Poetry."

And Eamonn Wall will present on "'Creatures of the Earth': An Ecocritical Reading of John McGahern's Late Stories."

I'm pretty dang excited.

The conference is taking place between Moorhead State University (fine, Minnesota State University--Moorhead) and North Dakota State University, but I went to college in Moorhead, at Concordia. It'll almost be like Homecoming, which is actually happening next week at Concordia, my ten year reunion, so I'll just walk the grounds a week early. It should be an awesome panel, chaired by my amazing undergrad Irish lit prof, Dawn Duncan. (I've been asked to chair her panel, so that's really cool.) My nerves are not being soothed by practicing my paper (which might have something to do with my nervous cats trying to kill each other because I have a suitcase on the bed), but it'll all work out. I am pretty nervous about butchering the Irish in my paper, but I'm going ask for confirmation on pronunciations (again) and then apologize profusely before I start.

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