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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 5. Cityscapes and Townscapes: The Urban in Poetry


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Chapter 5 Cityscapes and Townscapes12: The Urban in Poetry

Ever since the city as a geographical construct sprang up in world civilization some three millennia ago, writers have appropriated the urban milieu and used it as reference and metaphor for their perceptions of its transformations over the years. From the minute details about Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses, through the bleak cityscapes of English Romantic poets like William Blake, to the conception of the urban environment as having a crushing effect on the human spirit in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, writers all over the world have given us diverse responses to and perceptions of this important geographical feature. These artistic responses intimate a dialogue between the urban and the literary, suggesting that fictional representations can be a window into the hidden narratives of the city for, as Alicia Menéndez Tarrazo observes, “artists, especially poets and fictional writers, are regarded as privileged witnesses to the life of the city and deemed to have the ability to capture all its intricacies and describe them in the most creative ways” (2009:98). Ecocriticism, the prime theoretical paradigm informing my reading of Anglophone Cameroon poetry in this book, has not, until quite recently, engaged urbanscapes. Its early association with nature writing, American pastoralism, and literary ecology, has been the primary reason for such neglect, Michael Bennett and David W. Teagué have argued (1991:1). Yet, from an ecocritical perspective, the urban environment is a material place defined by...

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