Issue 3: Dorothy Alexander



Rapidly-rising temperatures in

the Arctic put Siberian perma-

frost in the melt zone, releas-

ing vast quantities of methane

and CO2. Global temperatures

keep on rising rapidly in conse-

quence. Melting ice-caps and

sea level rises displace more

than 100 million people, par-

ticularly in Bangladesh, the

Nile Delta and Shanghai.

Heatwaves and drought make

much of the sub-tropics

uninhabitable: large-scale

migration even takes place

within Europe, where deserts

are growing in southern Spain,

Italy and Greece. More than

half of wild species are wiped

out, in the worst mass extinc-

tion since the end of the

dinosaurs. Agriculture col-

lapses in Australia.



Extracts from Final Warning

In these poems techniques developed out of found poetry are applied to a contemporary newspaper clipping. Poems are constructed from within a word pool formed by searching along and down through the base text. Letters, words, lines are then ‘re’placed in direct relation to it.

Found is posited here as an ecopoetic, not only because of its inbuilt credentials as recycler, but, more pertinently, for the non-hierarchical and inclusive nature of its processes. It invites acts of multiple attentions (down to the smallest detail). It encourages heightened responsibility, in both writer and audience, for engagement with the word as depository and potential manipulator of meaning. My hope is that this dynamic of paying particular attention and taking responsibility serves as exemplar for engagement with larger issues and strengthens resistance to notions of outside agency.

The text used was an extract from the front page of The Independent on Saturday 3rd February 2007 whose banner headline was ‘Final Warning’, and which had five purported scenarios for global temperature rise by 2100 from +2.4° up to +6.4°.

Poems from Final Warning have been published in How2 online journal and in Product Magazine. A selection was exhibited at the Skylines Ecopoetics Exhibition / Language and L=A=N=D=S=C=A=P=E=S Forum at the Centre for Contemporary Art in the Natural World ( in June 2009.

Dorothy Alexander has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. For her PhD she wrote a prosimetrum, titled ‘Cage’, in which experimental poetics were used to intuit and disclose the disease processes associated with dementia. She won the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Award in 2002. She is currently working on a project which aims to fuse oral traditional techniques (specifically those associated with the Border Ballads) with linguistically innovative practice. The academic groundwork for this was done as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently working as an online Creative Writing tutor for the University of Strathclyde.

Copyright © 2009 by Dorothy Alexander, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.