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Susan's Blog

New Review of The Literature of Waste

[M]y understanding of waste has been greatly expanded by Susan Signe Morrison’s The Literature of Waste: Material Ecopoetics and Ethical Matter....I think her book can help bring readers to a better understanding of waste....Her final two chapters on source reduction and reuse articulate a clear vision of how poetry might help humans to see waste in all its forms as ethical matter, calling for action....Her work brings together Walt Whitman, Ammons, and Italo Calvino along with Chaucer and others in an exciting and awe-inspiring assemblage. The Literature of Waste also offers valuable commentary in thinking about intertextuality as a kind of recycling, the dangers of seeing certain groups of humans as waste, the dependent relations a city has with rural landscapes concerning waste disposal, and the pressing problem of conspicuous consumption and the often hidden increase in waste it produces. As I was trying to dig through Morrison’s midden heap of literature, theory, and history, I found myself constantly struck by poignant insights and thoughtful articulations, especially her work on early modern and medieval texts. In terms of ecocriticism, the book is a great example of interdisciplinary thought that seeks to address environmental crisis.....Scholars and readers interested in material culture or any of its various offshoots will find much of use here while those interested in garbage more generally will also find this book a useful introduction to thinking about waste.

~Matthew Zantingh, The Goose 15.1 (2016), Art. 13
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