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Title: Ugmad: Storm Surges, Super Typhoons, and the Ecopoetry of Post-Haiyan Leyte and Samar, Philippines
Authors: Antonino Salvador De Veyra
Keywords: climate change
natural disasters
human and nonhuman relations
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment-Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Citation: Antonino Salvador De Veyra (2021). Ugmad: Storm Surges, Super Typhoons, and the Ecopoetry of Post-Haiyan Leyte and Samar, Philippines. Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism 1 (1) : 74-88. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: How do we write poems about climate change? That is the question Matthew Griffths poses in his The New Poetics of Climate Change (2017). For writers in the post-Haiyan Leyte and Samar islands in the Philippines, answers to this question could not be more pressing as they write about the trauma suffered from the strong winds and storm surges unleashed by the category 5 tropical storm. This paper attempts to answer this question through an ecocritical analysis of three selected poems from the two anthologies that came out of post-Haiyan Leyte and Samar: Lunop Haiyan: Voices and Images (2015), and Our Memory of Water: Words After Haiyan (2016). The poems were chosen as they depict experiences during the storm’s landfall in the islands, and how these experiences convey the shock or trauma (ugmad in the local Waray language) that characterize most of the poems in the two anthologies. The analyses of Harold Mercurio’s “Yolanda,” Michael Villas’s “Landfall,” and Dante Rosales’s “Storm” focus on how the poets employed ecocritical concepts as they imagined their ordeal—something familiar as they are used to dealing with tropical storms, but also something totally unfamiliar given Haiyan’s strength and magnitude. The analyses show that the selected poems display a decentering of the human subject and an incipient recognition of human- nonhuman interdependent relations. But more than the emerging ecocentrical perspective, the poems exhibit a powerful affective quality that unsettles readers’ conceptions of human dominance over the environment. It is this affect that allows for a reimagining of climate change from the perspective of those who bear the brunt of global climatic emergencies.
Source Title: Journal of Southeast Asian Ecocriticism
Appears in Collections:Department Publications

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