Dwelling: an ecopoem
by Scott Edward Anderson
Winner of the 2019 Nautilus Silver Book Award in the category Lyric Prose or Hybrid Works!
A sequence of poems and prose questions, Dwelling: an ecopoem began as a conversation with Martin Heidegger’s essay “Building Dwelling Thinking” and became an expansive journey into the notion of home. With sharp focus, at once moving and lyric, Scott Edward Anderson explores the many facets of our dwelling on earth by drawing upon elements of nature, community, place, and love. Along the way, Anderson considers the impact of language, writing, displacement, and the city as ecosystem, ultimately concluding, “Home or the idea of home haunts us . . . we are always searching for it, for the way ‘back home.’ All we can do is try to make it, try to bring forth home as dwelling.”
PHILOSOPHY / General
POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-947067-50-9 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Scott Edward Anderson is the author of Fallow Field (Aldrich Press, 2013) and Walks in Nature’s Empire (The Countryman Press, 1995). He has been a Concordia Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts and received the Nebraska Review Award. His work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, The Cortland Review, Many Mountains Moving, Terrain, and the anthologies Dogs Singing (Salmon Poetry, 2011) and The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody, 2013), among other publications.
“In the spirit of Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island and The Practice of the Wild, Scott Edward Anderson leads us on a journey into place and the idea of place. That journey is driven by the burning questions of how we find a home on this planet, in this transient, often-brutal world, and how we heal through home. Anderson writes profoundly of ‘learning a place, intimately’ and the way that ‘Home inhabits you,’ and if you follow him, or better yet dwell with him for a while, you may find your own ideas deepening, growing and, with luck, taking root.”
“With the timelessness of art and the urgency of urban design, Scott Edward Anderson creates an ideal mixed-use development of poetry, ecology, philosophy, and ethics suffused by psalm, elegy, meditation, and ode. Dwelling: an ecopoem rings with -ings, the ending that means continuing, the suffix that propagates nouns from verbs. Through the lyric intimacy of couplets, the rhythmic breath of anaphora, the architecture of logic, the intentionality of hands-on practice, Anderson essays his own poetics of space, and in doing so he ushers us—"diving deep/ into the soil and breathing it all in”—into the home of this world.”
“If ‘home is a house made of breath,’ then poetry is a kind of home, a dwelling, where writing poetry means letting dwell, an act that requires thinking, in the stream of what Scott Edward Anderson calls ‘langscape.’ Anderson’s ‘ecopoem’ gracefully negotiates this movement between building, dwelling, thinking (including the question of thought’s error) in the embodied breath of verse and prose, troubling the ecotone between essay and poem. Sensitivity to our combined separation from yet dependence on a manifold earth bridges care for ‘tiny/ pulsating noises . . . so small as to be almost/ inaudible’ with the thinking aloud of a wanderer’s song, attention to the fox liberated from an empty swimming pool with the architect’s doubling of space within a watershed. In an age defined by too much thoughtless building, Anderson returns poetry to its ancient vocation of saving, healing, giving back.”
“Scott Edward Anderson’s writing in Dwelling: an ecopoem falls in what we might classify as eco-literature. It is part of an ever-burgeoning sub-genre that deals with the climatic perils of the present world—where man relentlessly and foolishly pushes nature’s delicate balance towards a path of destruction. The idea of Anthropocene is most evident in the poem ‘Mapping’, providing clues that form the heart of the book:
"The structure of this volume is unique and inventive—it is a dual sequence of poems forming parallel books. The first is the main body—the poem sequence and a series of prose “questions” about the themes in the poems—and the second is a series of “definition poems” that actually runs as a footer along the bottom of the book. Scott Edward Anderson’s poems in Dwelling: an ecopoem are probing and important—this is a fine and urgent volume.”
“Scott Edward Anderson’s Dwelling: an ecopoem is very beautiful and moving and lyric, and the definition poems, running across as a footer, feel like a little whisper along the bottom of the page, seeming somehow intimate.”
Taylor Matlock, “An Interview with Scott Edward Anderson,” Pine Hills Review, May 16, 2020
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