Climate Lyricism

Song_cover_front_05.inddBoston College Professor of English Min Hyoung Song articulates a climate change-centered reading practice in his new book Climate Lyricism (Duke University Press, 2022). Song shows how contemporary poetry and fiction, especially by Black, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx writers, help people to better grapple with everyday encounters with climate change and its disastrous effects, which, he says, are inextricably linked to the legacies of racism, colonialism, and extraction. Works by Tommy Pico, Solmaz Sharif, Frank O’Hara, Ilya Kaminsky, Claudia Rankine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Richard Powers, and others employ what Song calls climate lyricism—a mode of address in which a first-person “I” speaks to a “you” about how climate change thoroughly shapes daily life. Song contends this lyricism affects the ways readers comprehend the world, fostering a model of shared agency from which it can become possible to collectively and urgently respond to climate change. Song is also the author of The Children of 1965: On Writing, and Not Writing, as an Asian American and Strange Future: Pessimism and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

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