Aside from the harrowing depiction of the city burning and the plight of refugees during the 1920s Greco-Turkish war in Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex (2002), I didn’t know much about Izmir before going there. But given the stated aim of the second installment of ‘Portizmir 2’, their contemporary art triennial, to produce not only an exhibition but also ‘a dialogue between contemporary art and the people in the city’, I knew that would have to change. Luckily for me Turkey’s second biggest port after Istanbul, and third largest urban centre, is welcoming to strangers and trade. Intertwined historical, cultural, social, political and religious conflicts, and myriad contradictions that they give rise to, are rife in contemporary Turkey. That country’s current high-energy state – propelled by a young aspiring population realigning in a rapidly restructuring and growing economy – has only served to make them all the more palpable. Izmir is no exception and on every corner its historically patchwork, multi-layered urban fabric bears testimony to struggle and change both past and present.
The Language Habitat: an Ecopoetry Manifesto By James Engelhardt Ecopoetry is connection. It’s a way to engage the world by and through language. This poetry might be wary of language, but at its core believes that language is an evolved ability that comes from our bodies, that is close to the core of who we are in the world. Ecopoetry might borrow strategies and approaches from postmodernism and its off-shoots, depending on the poet and their interests, but the ecopoetic space is not a postmodern space. An ecopoem might play with slippages, but the play will lead to further connections. Ecopoetry does share a space with science. One of the concerns of ecopoetry is non-human nature (it shares this concern with the critical apparatus it borrows from, ecocriticism). It certainly shares that concern with most of the world’s history of poetry: How can we connect with non-human nature that seems so much more, so much larger than ourselves? How can we understan