The One Minutes Series: 'PAW'
|The One Minutes Series: 'PAW'
|Ceel Mogami de Haas
Artists and filmmakers explore the relation between animals and poetry.
When I was asked to curate a One Minutes Series, I was reading lots of ecopoetry. I strongly bonded with poets that explored the relation between animals and writing. Poetry oftentimes goes unnoticed in the field of animal studies.
‘Could the poet be a keystone sub-species of Homo sapiens? The poet: an apparently useless creature, but potentially the saviour of ecosystems’ writes scholar Jonathan Bate in his book The Song of the Earth. First echoing poet WH Auden's disenchanted claim that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’, he subsequently attributes a salvative calling to the vocation. Despite Bate's comical taxonomic revision, poetry is still often understood as something frivolous or innocent, if not ‘barbaric’.
I respect the somewhat underwhelming statement of Auden as much as I do admire the bold faith in Bate's hypothesis; a sense of assumed pointlessness sprinkled on audacious exuberance.
My curatorial approach sits somewhere between these two feelings. When poetry focuses on nature, and with it the larger communities of living organisms, it challenges the way we inhabit the world and calls for different prospects. Can ‘poetic thinking’ initiate alternative relations to animal populations inaccessible to other forms of thought? Maybe... Since poetry can speak and reach beyond the circumscriptions of reason.
This series became in my eyes something like an ‘imaginary garden with real toads in them’, as poet Marianne Moore would say in her own wonderful phrase. — Ceel Mogami de Haas