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Anglophone Cameroon Poetry in the Environmental Matrix

Eunice Ngongkum

This book explores contemporary Anglophone Cameroon poetry’s engagement with the environment through an eco-textual analysis of a cross section of poems from different poets. In this regard, the work broadens the field of ecocriticism beyond the original Anglo-American axis by developing a more locally-rooted in ecocriticism while making a valuable addition to the growing field of African ecocriticism.

It spotlights environmental degradation, the inextricable relationship between nature and culture as well as the intersection between history, politics, ethics and the environment in the Anglophone Cameroon cultural imaginary.

Focusing on the current need for the humanities to effectively respond to environmental challenges, the book foregrounds an environmental poetic vision that can be an ideal starting point for influencing and changing thought and behavioural patterns globally.

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Chapter 4. River Discourses in Poetry


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Chapter 4 River Discourses in Poetry

A river, according to T. S. McMillin, “consists of a complex interaction of matter and energy, creating a unique form running through a distinct setting bearing a diverse current and put to myriad uses” (2011:xi–xii). This definition at once signals the commonality, uniqueness and essentiality of this geomorphological unit. As it were, rivers do not only people the earth’s surface but are crucial to the development of life on planet earth. In this regard, they provide energy; serve as transport routes, function as habitat and food for various earth organisms, while playing an important part in the earth’s water cycle. Indeed, as Patrick McCully opines, “rivers are such an integral part of the land that in many places it would be as appropriate to talk of riverscapes as it would be of landscapes” (1996:1). At a cultural level, rivers wield an important influence on the life and traditions of given societies, forming and informing their perspective on the world at large. A river’s geomorphology, comprising three subsystems, namely, its flow (water moving through the channel and the sediments transported), its form and the constitutional make up of the channel, as well as the interaction between flow and form, has always captured the imaginative energies of writers all over the world. Inspired by rivers then, artists have engaged not only with the latter’s actuality in specific natural settings, but have also showed their importance in their communities’...

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