Conceiving of the Climate: Conceptual Metaphor in Ecopoetics
Research in conceptual metaphor has established that, far from being a decorative flourish, metaphor is integral to human reasoning: we extrapolate from our immediate experience to make sense of abstract objects and processes. Climate change is such a process, happening on spatial and temporal scales far beyond our perceptual horizons. While metaphor is indispensable in every genre of climate discourse think greenhouse gas, carbon footprint, and tipping points poetry is a particularly rich generator of innovative metaphoric framings. In this project, I will put insights from cognitive linguistics in conversation with traditions in literary and aesthetic theory to analyze a selection of poems dealing with climate change, from contemporary ecopoets including Juliana Spahr, Jane Hirshfield, Ed Roberson, and Cody-Rose Clevidence. Ill explicate the conceptual mappings that metaphors in these poems generate and consider their broader cognitive, affective, and imaginative effects to explore the question: how might ecopoetic metaphor influence our reasoning about the climate, and help us stretch our minds around the incomprehensible?
Message to Sponsor
- Major: Linguistics, Conservation & Resource Studies
- Sponsor: Wishek Fund
- Mentor: Bree Rosenblum