Being With: Essays in Poetics, Ecology and the Senses

Document Type



Common Ground Publishing


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Ryan, J. C. (2014). Being With: Essays in Poetics, Ecology and the Senses. United States: Common Ground Publishing.


Being With develops an ecopoetics of the senses, grounded in place and offering a glimpse into more ethical and sustainable human relationships to other species. Located in the emerging field of the environmental humanities, this collection of essays focuses in particular on plants and fungi. Commonly regarded as passive objects, immobile things, or aesthetic landscape features, plants and fungi are integral not only to ecology but to culture and our future. The interdisciplinary work of sensory ecopoetics bridges the humanities–sciences split and allows poetics to become part of the fabric of everyday life and environmental awareness. Other beings can be encountered for their dynamism as creative agents in a meaningful world that is both natural and cultural—a world inclusive of other-than-human lives. In developing a unique perspective on ecopoetics, one which departs from literary definitions alone, Being With brings together diverse topics in the environmental humanities, including the seasons, heritage, aesthetics, and poetry. A bioregional understanding of place continuously informs the analysis, from the southwest corner of Western Australia, the Outback, and the African savannah to the American West and the Alaskan frontier. The author invites readers to consider the many cultural expressions of ecopoetics and their role in an ethical future.

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