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Whoa, Ovid! The Metamorphoses and Global Warming

LocationTaylor Hall, Room 203

The ancient Roman poet Ovid retells the myth of the chariot of the sun, ridden for a day by the Sun’s son, Phaeton, with catastrophic results. Ecopoet John Shoptaw has rendered Ovid’s tale as an allegory of global warming. Shoptaw will read from the poem and explain how the well of ancient Greek and Roman literature takes us beyond the space and time of our human experience to gain some perspective on our contemporary climate crisis. 

John Shoptaw was raised in “swampeast” Missouri in the floodplain of the Mississippi River. His book of poems on the Mississippi watershed, Times Beach (2015), won the Notre Dame Book Award and the Northern California Book Prize. He turned his dissertation into a critical study of John Ashbery's poetry: On the Outside Looking Out (Harvard UP, 1996). He also wrote the libretto for an opera by Eric Sawyer, “Our American Cousin” (produced by the Boston Modern Opera Project in 2008), on the Lincoln assassination. Since the turn of the century, he has been teaching (eco)poetry reading and writing at the University of California at Berkeley. 

The event is sponsored by the Departments of Greek and Roman Studies, English, Earth Science and Geography, and the Program in Science, Technology, and Society.