Witness to the makeshift shore: Ecological practice in A Littoral Zone
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This essay suggests that Douglas Livingstone's long poem 'A Littoral Zone' (1991), an explicit conversation between his work as an environmental scientist and his work as a poet, makes for a poetic statement that is, in various senses of the word, ecological. The sequence of poems draws extensively on scientific research in the field of bacteriology, is minutely located in 'place', evokes a secular sacramentalism in its representation of ecological interconnectedness, and situates the present moment in the context of deep time. In all, Livingstone's distinctive stance involves a tough, tender negotiation between irony, equanimity, wonder, and a sense of critical environmental urgency. Read twenty years later, his view of the South Coast littoral and of the world in which it is situated, seems prescient.