This workshop explores the entangled relationship of dreaming and ecology, thinking about how poets use ‘dreams’ to create ecosystems that tie us to the natural world.
‘We have the right to make / the universe we dream’, claims Diane di Prima in ‘Revolutionary Letter #51’. Dreams are not just the waste residue of our everyday life; they make and remake our intimate, social and nonhuman worlds, as for Walter Benjamin, ‘Dreaming has a share in history’. This workshop explores the entangled relationship of dreaming and ecology at the level of form and content: we’ll look at imagery and metaphor, voice, repetition, sensation, and other aspects of prosody as part of the dreaming world of the poem.
By reading a range of dream poets – from Jackie Wang to Barbara Guest and Alex Pauline Gumbs – we’ll consider how dreaming functions within ecopoetics: allowing us to slip in and out of (non)human consciousness, challenging borders and boundaries, unravelling totalities; to think uneasy futures and make utopian demand. In the strange, multi-scalar time of the anthropocene, dreaming offers a poetics of both reflection and speculation, dwelling in the ecotone or contact zone of more-than-human effects, traces, and forces.
We’ll experiment with various ecopoetic techniques and tools inspired by dreaming: writing through free association, colour, creative exchange, neuronet dreams, nonhuman dreaming, impossibilities, and imaginary spaces. Dreaming allows us to expand our consciousness, relationship with others, and ‘arts of attention’ (Anna Tsing), making room for a deeply attuned ecopoetic practice.
Maria Sledmere is currently completing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. She is editor-in-chief at the post-internet poetry press SPAM and a member of A+E Collective — a group of multidisciplinary creatives working to awaken imagination for a better world. An exhibition, The Palace of Humming Trees, with Katie O’Grady and Jack O’Flynn, was recently shown at French Street Studios. Her debut collection, The Luna Erratum, is out now with Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and in 2020 she co-edited with Rhian Williams an anthology, the weird folds: everyday poems from the anthropocene (2020). Other publications include nature sounds without nature sounds (Sad Press), Rainbow Arcadia (Face Press), infra•structure – with Katy Lewis Hood (Broken Sleep), Chlorophyllia (OrangeApple Press) and neutral milky halo (Guillemot Press). A collaboration with Katy Lewis Hood on the works of Etel Adnan, Tangents, was recently long-listed for the Ivan Juritz Visual Arts Prize, and her poem ‘Ariosos for Lavish Matter’ was highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prize.