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Climate Lyricism with Min Hyoung Song

March 7 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

In Climate Lyricism, Min Hyoung Song articulates a climate change-centered reading practice that foregrounds how climate is present in most literature. Song shows how literature, poetry, and essays by Tommy Pico, Solmaz Sharif, Frank O’Hara, Ilya Kaminsky, Claudia Rankine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Richard Powers, and others help us to better grapple with our everyday encounters with climate change and its disastrous effects, which are inextricably linked to the legacies of racism, colonialism, and extraction. These works employ what Song calls climate lyricism—a mode of address in which a first-person “I” speaks to a “you” about how climate change thoroughly shapes daily life. The relationship between “I” and “you” in this lyricism, Song contends, affects the ways readers comprehend the world, fostering a model of shared agency from which it can become possible to collectively and urgently respond to the catastrophe of our rapidly changing climate. In this way, climate lyricism helps to ameliorate the sense of being overwhelmed and feeling unable to do anything to combat climate change.

Min Hyoung Song is Professor of English and Director of the Asian American Studies Program at Boston College, as well as a steering committee member of Environmental Studies and an affiliated faculty member of African and African Diaspora Studies. He is the author of three books: Climate Lyricism (Duke, 2022), The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American (Duke, 2013) and Strange Future: Pessimism and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots (Duke, 2005).

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