A literary history of the Great Acceleration, Remainders examines an archive of postwar American poetry that reflects on new dimensions of ecological crisis. These poems portray various forms of remainders—from obsolescent goods and waste products to atmospheric pollution and melting glaciers—that convey the ecological consequences of global economic development. While North American ecocriticism has tended to focus on narrative forms in its investigations of environmental consciousness and ethics, Margaret Ronda highlights the ways that poetry explores other dimensions of ecological relationships. The poems she considers engage in more ambivalent ways with the problem of human agency and the limits of individual perception, and they are attuned to the melancholic and damaging aspects of environmental existence in a time of generalized crisis. Her method, which emphasizes the material histories and uneven effects of capitalist development, models a unique critical approach to understanding the causes and conditions of ongoing biospheric catastrophe.
About the author
Margaret Ronda is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. Her collection of poetry, Personification, was the winner of the 2009 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize.
"This haunting and deftly executed book tracks the traces and effects of postwar consumption-driven capitalism in American poetry in unexpected ways. Margaret Ronda proves to be an ecocritical scholar of keen poetic insight, originality, and range."
—Rob Wilson, University of California, Santa Cruz
"With precise and unsparing attention, Remainders shows us how the very things that make poetry 'untimely'—bearing old forms into the present, making present the discarded or lost, investing in barely conceivable futures—can make it the timeliest of arts, best attuned to the ecological calamity of our era."
—Oren Izenberg, University of California, Irvine
"Margaret Ronda makes a persuasive case for poetry's continued relevance as a response to the ecological outrages of late capitalist development. Remainders sheds light on a literary tradition whose exegetical, affective, and political intractability reflects the planetary crisis that surrounds us, while rejecting any facile narrative of repair. This is a timely book about the radical possibilities of untimeliness."
—Jennifer Scappettone, University of Chicago
"Ronda's expansive rubric of the remainder has the advantage of accentuating the ecological resonance of poems by figures not traditionally situated within ecological circles...Ronda's precise interpretations, above all else, dazzle."
—Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Los Angeles Review of Books