University of Sydney
William Carlos Williams is often held up as a forbearer for American ecopoetics in his reshaping of the natural image towards establishing a poetic gaze that is resistant to anthropocentrism. Writing half a century later, the poetics of the transnational poet John Mateer also wrestles with the intersection of the human and the natural. This paper performs a reading of Mateer through the lens of Williams to demonstrate the legacy of Williams, across cultures, in constructions of the natural in poetry. A comparative approach is necessary in a time of globalization and similarly this is not a simple prosodic exercise for, as it will be shown, the post-modern language turn has meant that just challenging the pathetic fallacy, as Williams does, is no longer sufficient to embed a poem with respect for the alterity of the natural world. This paper proposes the theory of Jean-Luc Nancy as a way of accessing the difference between the poets and of driving ecocritical thinking forward.