Manifesto of Italian ECOPOETRY (2005)
Ecopoetry – a new literary genre inspired by the current environmental
emergency – aims to "give voice " to living beings who have none, and to
attest to their rights.
Within the vast universe of poetry, Ecopoetry does not claim a position of
supremacy over other traditional poetic expressions, it simply chooses to be
In the wake of the jumble of heterogeneous post-modern artistic experiences
of the second half of the XX century, some new trends are emerging owing to:
fast and easy communications;
cultural globalization processes;
Planet’s increasingly dramatic environmental emergency.
In this context, some Italian artists feel the need to express in a
Manifesto their poetry-making philosophy or, more generally, to represent it
through their art.
This choice is the result of the following considerations:
because of the daily bombardment of news from the media we tend to have a
defensive reaction, and separate emotions from factual information and
this creates a conflict between rational thought – which seeks to understand
events – and the huge amount of emotions that on such occasions we restrain;
inurement to such virtual representations has gradually saturated the minds
of billions of people, transforming them into passive spectators;
this passiveness has generated apathy towards ideals and values, especially
among young people. As a consequence we find ourselves deprived of the
enthusiasm we need to address the problems of our time.
Following these considerations, a number of artists have chosen to
experiment with a poetry genre that sets free our suppressed emotions and
uses them as the driving force to achieve the targets inspired by these new
Owing to the critical situation of our Planet today, protection of the
Environment stands out as the unconditional priority of the XXI century.
The realisation that to treat Nature as an inexhaustible resource was a
fatal mistake has brought about the decline of the anthropocentric view of
mankind as its all-powerful master.
This new perspective of the Earth – further informed by recent astronomical
discoveries and by the fascinating images that reach us from Space – has
made us aware of our insignificant stature within the Universe, and forced
us to acknowledge that we are not privileged creatures on Earth. Man,
therefore, has begun to perceive his role as a potential destroyer or
champion of our common home, and of his responsibilities towards this
Awareness of this responsibility has engendered a new ethical relationship:
no longer solely between man and man, but between man and Nature. Following
post-modern deconstruction of ideologies, the moral philosophy of modern
culture aims for new values
purposes, devoid of rigid hierarchical and ideological superstructures.
The role of Ecopoetry in this scenario
Every poetical genre can create emotions, touch secret or forgotten strings,
create surprising associations with unexpected sounds or images, and capture
the hidden essence of our experiences. On the strength of such powerful
inspiration, Ecopoetry becomes a means of spreading emotions, hence
awakening our conscience to the problems of life today.
This kind of poetry involves both reason and feelings, evolving beyond the
prejudices of XX-century bipolar thinking which laid down a clear
distinction between reason and artistic creation. Alongside the traditional
emotions of poetic communication, Ecopoetry also inspires a rational
awareness of the dramatic environmental emergency we are faced with, and the
need to resolve it. Ecopoetry is therefore cross-dimensional, as it bridges
the divide between these two realms of expression and is seemingly closer to
the thoughts and feelings of the people of today.
Environmental sciences can analyse current environmental problems in detail
but are unlikely, on their own, to persuade us into action. A new poetic
language – with its refreshing approach to these subjects – could obtain
more effective results, by awakening our conscience and preparing us to
listen to the fundamental issues of the XXI century:
preservation of our Planet, and a new relationship with all living beings (Ecopoetry);
testimony of fundamental human rights, and peaceful coexistence among
peoples (Art & Peace);
new and different perception of self (Ecopsychology, etc.)
This need for a new Poetry has been felt in different parts of the World.
Thus novel poetic movements have formed that combine poetry with other
current ethical movements, such as Art and Peace, Eco Art and, of
But who is the Ecopoet?
The Ecopoet is not a bard who sings about Nature: he speaks for
Nature. He gives voice to Nature. Ecopoets testify to the rights of living
beings who have none. They feel interconnected with the Creation, sharing
and expressing Its innermost emotions: the tortured animal, the uprooted
tree, the whole polluted Earth, speak directly through the Ecopoet’s verses.
Ultimately, this artist speaks in favour of our common, unique and
irreplaceable Environment, which must be preserved in all its diverseness
To protect Nature we must learn to love it, to feel empathy towards it. And
this is what Ecopoetry aims to do: to convey this loving urge to protect; to
help us feel for animals, trees, forests, and to experience their pain as
our own; to see the beauty of a pristine landscape as a model to be
protected; to understand that the fate of Earth is also our own.
Ecopoets , therefore, are the link between human community and natural
world. Rather than dwell on their troubled egos or on complex interpersonal
dynamics, they tap into the peace of the Creation’s community: they open to
the World, becoming symbiotic with other living beings.
Ecopoetry is not a self-celebratory art that preaches from a pedestal, but
the language of empathic people who feel intimately connected with Nature’s
living beings: it conveys their emotions from within, in simple form – as
humble as the oppressed subjects it speaks for.
This is another sphere in which Ecopoetry necessarily distinguishes itself.
In the age of global communication, poetry must be able to communicate
globally, must be accessible to everyone, must be open to the World’s
different cultures, and share and spread the values
Ecopoetry breaks free of closed, erudite literary circles; of stuffy,
enigmatic avant-gardes; of local poetic traditions; and uses simple, clear
poetic communication, intelligible to all cultures – and therefore easy to
translate – so as to reach an ever-growing public, as recommended by UNESCO
in their message for the World Poetry Day.
Ecopoetry must be able to communicate globally, because it lives in times
when the World’s thoughts, emotions and creativity are all simultaneously in
contact. Nourished by this universal collective sap, Ecopoetry creates new
urges, which in turn will be received and collected universally.
Some authors have tentatively named this new form of poetry
"Post-Post-Modern Poetry", because it incorporates some of the current
post-modern trends. In this Manifesto we choose to call it, quite simply, "ECOPOETRY”.
These reflections can be extended to all forms of Art that focus on Nature
and on the Environment. In our Manifesto, this genre of Art is called "ECOART”.
M. Ivana Trevisani Albisola Bach (Savona)
Infantino Salvatore Palazzolo (Siracusa)
Luciano Somma (Napoli)
M. Louise Gravina (Genova)
Luciana Bertorelli (Savona)