Conference paper

The Word and the World : The Material Ecopoetics of David Vikgren


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Publication Details

Subtitle: The Material Ecopoetics of David Vikgren

Author list: Degerman, Peter

Publication year: 2014



This article focuses on two collections of poetry by the Swedish poet David Vikgren, Folkmun and Skogen, malmen, vattenkraften, reading for the ways in which the poems voice the issues of materiality and how they may shape ‘narratives of matter’ – reflecting the world in the word and the word in the world. Conceptualizing language as matter in the poetry of David Vikgren the study aims to explore the unstable boundaries between human and nonhuman, between garbage and commodity, and between the local and the global. The concept takes its departure in the two predominant depictions of the landscape of Northern Sweden in 20th century literature: the exotic wilderness and the early industrial exploitation of this wilderness. The material impact of these literary texts can be examined in social, economic, and ecological terms, shaping the landscape as well as being shaped by it. In relation to these traditional texts the poetry of David Vikgren is perceived as part of the discursive practices shaping society’s physical and cultural transformations. The paper thus addresses questions concerning the possibilities of reading young contemporary poetry in the context of the traditional literature of northern Sweden, as well as examining the ways that environmental issues are present in this kind of poetry. Is it possible to detect a specific ‘choreography of matter’ in the contemporary poetry using the northern landscape as a trope?


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