The scientific method: Rebecca Durham’s experimental poetics

THOMAS PLANK for the Missoulian

How well do you know the Latin names for plants? Or how to read a dichotomous key? Or how to contemplate the hyperobject of climate change and the nearly infinite impacts on lives that changing climate is having and going to have?

Rebecca Durham has published two books of ecopoetry — “Loss/Less” and “Half-Life of Empathy” — that contemplate the world of plants, time, and a poetry without the interpretation of humans. Durham, a Ph.D. candidate in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Montana, is attracted to the experimental in her poetry, and in a lot of ways directly rejects the lyrical interaction with nature that has driven so many poets to describe the world they see.

“I’m a botanist by education and career, so I have a real close connection with the more-than-human world and the plants, and I spend a lot of time noticing, noticing and appreciating a relationship with a more-than-human world and the current state of grief we’re in,” Durham said in an interview this September.

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