Issue 4.2 Release!

September 23, 2014 0 Comments Issue Release 2520 Views

To announce the publication of our recent issue, I have included the editor’s note below. We hope you enjoy the issue as much as we did building it!

4.2 release

Editor’s Note


I am so pleased to welcome you to our first ever issue of The Kudzu Scholar. We have seen some big changes in the past year to Kudzu, including our new website, a rebranding of the publication to Kudzu House Quarterly, the approval of Kudzu House’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity status, and the addition of a blog, The Kudzu Vine. Needless to say, we have been quite busy here at KH! The move to a scholarly issue is a much needed addition. An indication of the importance of the new scholarly arm of the journal is how many strong works we received for our issue’s call for papers, and we are pleased at the resulting array of writers whose work appears in the following pages.

This issue’s theme is “hybridity.” This journal itself is steeped in this concept. Kudzu House gets its name from “Kudzu: a species invasive to the south,” and “House: from Greek: οἶκος, ‘eco.’” Because human’s recent level of impact on the surrounding world has rendered conceptions of natural and native to be impossible, our journal is interested in the places where the boundaries between nature and art erode. We think that hybrid spaces, arts, and solutions are the best chance for environmental sustainability. This group of essays all approach environmental writing with different methodologies, texts, and goals, but they all examine how writers defy binaries and absolutes.

This issue begins with an essay on Guy Davenport by W.C. Bamberger, in which he reads “Tchelitchew’s tree is a sign of both solidity and the energies of growth and change, and of the ways people can come together by way of these energies.” His blend of biology and gender theory inform a savvy exegesis of Davenport’s work. This paper is followed by Sarah Nolan’s essay “Voicing the Hurricane: Considering Caribbean Ecopoetics,” in which she explores the relationship between lived experience and ecopoetics. She looks at how the narrator of Lyn Hejinian’s My Life “establishes the entirely subjective mental and historical spaces that construct the book when she identifies the autobiographical piece as ‘[a]n ‘oral history’ on paper’” (10, qtd Hejinian p. 9). This rich discussion of experience and ecology is further enriched by Aaron M. Moe’s essay “Telling an Animal’s Story from a ‘Human’ Point of View” when he looks to Philip Levine’s poem “Animals are Passing from our Lives” and wonders “how can one cross the species barrier to tell the story of another animal without having the human perspective eclipse the animal?” (22). Ultimately, both writers are left questioning how language can represent experience, be it human or animal.

Steven Skattebo turns his Master Gardener eye on metaphors for composting in contemporary ecopoetics to interrogate the misappropriation of the term, wondering “should we worry about scientific accuracy when we borrow scientific terminology for literary purposes?” It is a fascinating question, and he explores it across a wide array of environmental writers. Next, Nathan Frank reviews Body Drift: Butler, Hayles, Haraway by Arthur Kroker, and he emphasizes that “[f]or Kroker, body drift refers to the destabilization of normative boundaries” (36). Frank unpacks the complexities of drift, “beginning here with the drifts of theory itself and then of bodies, will eventually lead him to explore the drifts of code, history, archive, screen, and media” (36). These essays push us beyond distinctions of technology and environment, they bring the ideological nature of language and communication to bear on how we relate to space and place.

Luke Morgan’s fascinating essay “Critical and Practical Transformation: Urban Homesteading as Ecocritical Evolution” asks “what, exactly, fills the middle ground opened by a departure from strict notions of wilderness and the natural as binary oppositions to the inhabited space and the artificial” (40). His theoretical engagement with the idea of urban homesteading destabilizes environmental rhetoric(s) of “nostalgia” (42). He points us to hopeful and interesting developments in this popular trend. Dante Di Stefano’s essay “We Must Carve Joy Out of Stones: The Neo-Transcendentalist Poetry of Ruth Stone and Jason Shinder” examines how the legacy of Thoreau and Emerson in Shinder and Stone “provides a late twentieth century rejoinder to Thoreau’s question, ‘Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?’” (54). The issue ends with an excellent review, “Fluid Inventiveness” by Lizz Bernstein of The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place edited by Tom Lynch, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster, We can think of no better collection to speak to Kudzu’s mission.

I conclude this note on the eve of the Autumnal Equinox, as the last embers of Sirius’ extended wrath finally give way to the first cool evening. The heat has been exhausting this summer, and everywhere I look I can see the sense of relief the world around me seems to be feeling. In the face of the many ecological and social problems that we are daily overwhelmed with through the immediacy of new media, the essays you are about to read all reach toward kinds of hope, places of relief and revision. They all suggest that we must not despair in the face of environmental change, damage, and loss. Instead, we must adapt! With this in mind, I would like to invite you to explore the hybridity issue of The Kudzu Scholar; we hope you enjoy another issue of Kudzu House Quarterly!


Thanks so much for reading, and as always:

may the Kudzu grow!


M.P. Jones


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