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Exploring the Places that Language and Nature Converge. Ethics and Aesthetics in Jody Gladding’s Poetry


  • Kristina Csiki Helg

Summary, in English

The need for sustainable solutions to the negative state of the Earth is urgent. Ethical choices need to be made and humanity’s endowed imagination needs to be employed to find creative ways ahead. Literature has a potential to open minds and challenge perceptions, which is necessary to activate the creative imagination needed to find visionary solutions. This analytical research paper explores how a contemporary poet attempts to represent a holistic existence merging the ethics of environmentalism, in particular ecologic criticism, with the aesthetics of art, in particular ecopoetry, or rather ambient poetry. The artist studied is Jody Gladding, who defines herself as a translator and “explorer of the places that language and landscape converge” (Gladding 2018, 63). The selection of Gladding’s work is based on poems published on her homepage and in the three most recent publications Rooms and Their Airs (2009), Translations of Bark Beetle: poems (2014) and the spiders my arms (2018). In order to identify the terminology and a set of conceptual tools for the analysis, the thesis starts with a theoretical overview of ecocriticism and ecopoetry, and a brief practical review of the main stages how humanity’s relation to nature has been represented in poetry. Gladding’s poems are then studied and examined through the two filters provided, in order to map out the place that language and nature converge. The conclusion is that Gladding’s explorations result in intellectually stimulating and aesthetically entertaining pieces of art, which also serve as platforms for ethics and aesthetics to converge. These places can then perform as creative venues for the exploration of difficult issues, free of judgements as well as of anxiety. Through its multidimensionality in content and form, Gladding’s creative art, once understood, has the potential to be an eye-opener that can offer a ticket out of today’s dangerous carelessness and open up the mind’s imaginative powers to come up with sustainable solutions for the Earth, for the future.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Jody Gladding
  • ecocriticism
  • ecopoetry


  • Cian Duffy (Professor)