Climate Lyricism

Climate Lyricism

From the Publisher: In Climate Lyricism Min Hyoung Song articulates a climate change-centered reading practice that foregrounds how climate is present in most literature. Song shows how literature, poetry, and essays by Tommy Pico, Solmaz Sharif, Frank O’Hara, Ilya Kaminsky, Claudia Rankine, Kazuo Ishiguro, Teju Cole, Richard Powers, and others, and others help us to better grapple with our everyday encounters with climate change and its disastrous effects, which are inextricably linked to the legacies of racism, colonialism, and extraction. These works 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. This lyricism and its relationship between “I” and “you,” Song contends, 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 the catastrophe of our rapidly changing climate. In this way, climate lyricism helps to ameliorate the sense of being overwhelmed and feeling unable to do anything to combat climate change.

“Coining ‘climate lyricism,’ Min Hyoung Song recuperates collective agency as a mingling of attention, perception, and responsiveness. He doesn’t skirt the despair of climate catastrophe but rather reckons with it to find reasons to continue. The book follows its own lyrical flow as it integrates personal reflections from pandemic lockdown with readings of literary texts informed by ecocriticism and critical race theory. Song shows that questions of racist exclusion and harm are never far from questions of environmental thriving, just as the struggles of climate crisis are never far away even when they are not explicit on the page.” — Heather Houser, author of Infowhelm: Environmental Art and Literature in an Age of Data

“Min Hyoung Song presents a thrilling and powerfully argued case for literature and poetry as a means of cultivating sustained attention to climate change in this tumultuous time. Using an innovative framework to draw forth the complex and multifaceted ways climate change becomes apprehensible, Climate Lyricism will undoubtedly make a significant impact on conversations in ecocriticism, contemporary literary studies, and studies of climate change.” — Margaret Ronda, author of Remainders: American Poetry at Nature’s End

Copies can be purchased at the Duke UP website (use discount code E22SONG):

The book is also open access, and can be found online: