Natural Beauty Ecopoetry Anthology

What is Ecopoetry?

Ask for an example of nature poetry and the mind will conjour up Wordsworth's daffodils or Housman's cherry trees - nature often as ornament or backdrop for 'more important' human conceits and concerns. This Romantic view of nature is problematic because it is not representative of the real world in which we live - a world of rapid change and destruction caused by the actions and lack of reaction of people, governments, institutions and corporations to environmental issues. Pollution, deforestation, climate change, melting ice caps, plastic waste, mass extinctions and the destruction of biodiversity are just some of the disasters caused by overpopulation, throw-away economies, and the reliance on fossil-fuels that drives our everyday lives. 

Ecopoetics spawned from the broader critical spectrum of ecocriticism which can be defined simply as the study of literature and the physical environment. Ecocriticism ‘takes as its subject the interconnection between nature and culture, specifically the cultured artefacts of language and literature. As a critical stance, it has one foot in literature and the other on land; as a theoretical discourse, it negotiates between the human and the nonhuman’ (Glotfelty, 1996, p. xix).

Ecopoetics, then, is the relationship between poetic texts and the physical environment. This definition is, on purpose, very broad and loose but some critics have attempted to offer some form of structure as to what environmental texts might cover. For example in his book The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture Lawrence Buell developed a checklist ‘of the ingredients that might be said to comprise an environmentally orientated work.

  1. The nonhuman environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history.
  2. The human interest is not understood to be the only legitimate interest
  3. Human accountability to the environment is part of the text’s ethical orientation.
  4. Some sense of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given is at least implicit in the text (Buell L. , 1996, p. 7).

This is by no means a definitive list of 'ingredients' but it does offer some guidance as to what an ecopoetic text might look like, as it attempts to rebalance the asymmetrical relationship between the human and non-human worlds that traditional nature poetry often skews.

      Natural Beauty Ecopoetry Anthology

      What we are looking for with our new anthology is poetry that sloughs off the old, traditional view of nature and engages with a more ecopoetical stance. What that is, we will leave up to you.

      What we are interested in most of all is poetry that engages with place - specifically the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the UK and Ireland. We want to know about your favourites spots, walks, views and experiences but through the lens of ecopoetics - what do these places say about your relationship with the natural world?

      You can find out more information here about AONB's and National Parks 


      1. Poets should submit no more than TWO poems via the online form.

      2. Poets should state what AONB or National Park the poem relates to. 

      3. Submitted poems must be unpublished.

      4. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please withdraw if accepted elsewhere.

      5. Poems should be submitted on a single word document. 

      6. Submissions open on October 22nd and close December 31st - plenty of time to get out into the wild!

      7. Acceptances will be sent in Feb/March 23.

      8. Submissions are free.