Manifesto of Italian ECOPOETRY (2005)
Ecopoetry – a new literary genre inspired by the current environmental emergency – aims to "give voice " to living beings who have none, and to attest to their rights. Within the vast universe of poetry, Ecopoetry does not claim a position of supremacy over other traditional poetic expressions, it simply chooses to be different.
In the wake of the jumble of heterogeneous post-modern artistic experiences of the second half of the XX century, some new trends are emerging owing to:
· fast and easy communications;
· cultural globalization processes;
· our Planet’s increasingly dramatic environmental emergency.
In this context, some Italian artists feel the need to express in a Manifesto their poetry-making philosophy or, more generally, to represent it through their art. This choice is the result of the following considerations:
· because of the daily bombardment of news from the media we tend to have a defensive reaction, and separate emotions from factual information and images;
· this creates a conflict between rational thought – which seeks to understand events – and the huge amount of emotions that on such occasions we restrain;
· inurement to such virtual representations has gradually saturated the minds of billions of people, transforming them into passive spectators;
· this passiveness has generated apathy towards ideals and values, especially among young people. As a consequence we find ourselves deprived of the enthusiasm we need to address the problems of our time.
Following these considerations, a number of artists have chosen to experiment with a poetry genre that sets free our suppressed emotions and uses them as the driving force to achieve the targets inspired by these new values??.
Owing to the critical situation of our Planet today, protection of the Environment stands out as the unconditional priority of the XXI century.
The realisation that to treat Nature as an inexhaustible resource was a fatal mistake has brought about the decline of the anthropocentric view of mankind as its all-powerful master.
This new perspective of the Earth – further informed by recent astronomical discoveries and by the fascinating images that reach us from Space – has made us aware of our insignificant stature within the Universe, and forced us to acknowledge that we are not privileged creatures on Earth. Man, therefore, has begun to perceive his role as a potential destroyer or champion of our common home, and of his responsibilities towards this fragile Planet.
Awareness of this responsibility has engendered a new ethical relationship: no longer solely between man and man, but between man and Nature. Following post-modern deconstruction of ideologies, the moral philosophy of modern culture aims for new values ??and purposes, devoid of rigid hierarchical and ideological superstructures.
The role of Ecopoetry in this scenario
Every poetical genre can create emotions, touch secret or forgotten strings, create surprising associations with unexpected sounds or images, and capture the hidden essence of our experiences. On the strength of such powerful inspiration, Ecopoetry becomes a means of spreading emotions, hence awakening our conscience to the problems of life today.
This kind of poetry involves both reason and feelings, evolving beyond the prejudices of XX-century bipolar thinking which laid down a clear distinction between reason and artistic creation. Alongside the traditional emotions of poetic communication, Ecopoetry also inspires a rational awareness of the dramatic environmental emergency we are faced with, and the need to resolve it. Ecopoetry is therefore cross-dimensional, as it bridges the divide between these two realms of expression and is seemingly closer to the thoughts and feelings of the people of today.
Environmental sciences can analyse current environmental problems in detail but are unlikely, on their own, to persuade us into action. A new poetic language – with its refreshing approach to these subjects – could obtain more effective results, by awakening our conscience and preparing us to listen to the fundamental issues of the XXI century:
· preservation of our Planet, and a new relationship with all living beings (Ecopoetry); · testimony of fundamental human rights, and peaceful coexistence among peoples (Art & Peace);
· a new and different perception of self (Ecopsychology, etc.)
This need for a new Poetry has been felt in different parts of the World. Thus novel poetic movements have formed that combine poetry with other current ethical movements, such as Art and Peace, Eco Art and, of course, Ecopoetry.
But who is the Ecopoet?
The Ecopoet is not a bard who sings about Nature: he speaks for Nature. He gives voice to Nature. Ecopoets testify to the rights of living beings who have none. They feel interconnected with the Creation, sharing and expressing Its innermost emotions: the tortured animal, the uprooted tree, the whole polluted Earth, speak directly through the Ecopoet’s verses. Ultimately, this artist speaks in favour of our common, unique and irreplaceable Environment, which must be preserved in all its diverseness and beauty.
To protect Nature we must learn to love it, to feel empathy towards it. And this is what Ecopoetry aims to do: to convey this loving urge to protect; to help us feel for animals, trees, forests, and to experience their pain as our own; to see the beauty of a pristine landscape as a model to be protected; to understand that the fate of Earth is also our own.
Ecopoets, therefore, are the link between human community and natural world. Rather than dwell on their troubled egos or on complex interpersonal dynamics, they tap into the peace of the Creation’s community: they open to the World, becoming symbiotic with other living beings.
Ecopoetry is not a self-celebratory art that preaches from a pedestal, but the language of empathic people who feel intimately connected with Nature’s living beings: it conveys their emotions from within, in simple form – as humble as the oppressed subjects it speaks for.
This is another sphere in which Ecopoetry necessarily distinguishes itself. In the age of global communication, poetry must be able to communicate globally, must be accessible to everyone, must be open to the World’s different cultures, and share and spread the values ??of its time.
Ecopoetry breaks free of closed, erudite literary circles; of stuffy, enigmatic avant-gardes; of local poetic traditions; and uses simple, clear poetic communication, intelligible to all cultures – and therefore easy to translate – so as to reach an ever-growing public, as recommended by UNESCO in their message for the World Poetry Day.
Ecopoetry must be able to communicate globally, because it lives in times when the World’s thoughts, emotions and creativity are all simultaneously in contact. Nourished by this universal collective sap, Ecopoetry creates new urges, which in turn will be received and collected universally.
Some authors have tentatively named this new form of poetry "Post-Post-Modern Poetry", because it incorporates some of the current post-modern trends.
In this Manifesto we choose to call it, quite simply, "ECOPOETRY”.
These reflections can be extended to all forms of Art that focus on Nature and on the Environment. In our Manifesto, this genre of Art is called "ECOART”.
Founder M. Ivana Trevisani Albisola Bach (Savona) First Signatories: Infantino Salvatore Palazzolo (Siracusa) Luciano Somma (Napoli) M. Louise Gravina (Genova) Luciana Bertorelli (Savona)