Sophia Athena Ramos graduated in Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines. She writes ecopoetry and makes zines. Her research interests include ecopoetry practice, transmedia literature, children’s literature, and uncreative writing. She cares for her 13-year-old cat and what her friends call an indoor gubat. E-mail: ramossophia22@gmail.com


New Ecopoetics in Protest Literature: Renovating the Philippine Ecopoem

Abstract: Current definitions of ecopoetry have yet to account for the possibility of an overlap between the traditions of protest poetry and nature poetry, alongside the counter-hegemonic circuits of dissemination unique to Philippine literature. These enable multiple valences for articulating resistance, not just for the text as an object but as an existing cultural artifact. This short paper, which abbreviates a much longer work, presents several examples that renovate current definitions of ecopoetry and legitimize formerly illegible avenues for ecopoetic practice. The history of Philippine protest literature, in tackling landlessness and the many forms of agricultural/agrarian struggle, articulates an ecological understanding of the land (and/or land ethic) outside of established circuits of capitalist knowledge production. This includes knowledge that is folkloric and indigenous, reflecting an ecological relationship with the land embedded within the culture, which is untranslatable into English. It would come as a detriment to Philippine eco-adjacent poetry to overlook the environmentalist relation to the natural components of agriculture present in protest poetry. This is not a reproach for earlier claims that have so far overlooked the eco-adjacent verse in the Philippine protest literary tradition, but rather a nudge towards the possibilities embedded in more “illegible” texts or texts that evade “legitimized” modes of dissemination.
Keywords: ecopoetry, ecopoetics, Philippine literature, protest poetry, Philippine anglophone poetry