Over the course of his fifty-year career, Mexican writer José Emilio Pacheco has almost habitually written poetry about environmental themes especially those related to pollution, extraction, deforestation, and other related themes of destruction. Simultaneously, his work has engaged with questions of temporality, namely the passing of time and the inherent violence of such questions. In this essay, I examine a selection of Pacheco's poetry from the 1970s to the early 2000s, demonstrating Pacheco's marrying of the two concepts: environmental degradation and time. This marriage results in a provocative synthesis of eco-apocalypse, a phenomenon that details a paradoxical end that never actually arrives, but only consistently worsens. I illuminate Pacheco's work by incorporating Rob Nixon's concept of "slow violenceâ€, which informs my reading of the poetry by calling to its imaginative power. This power allows it to depict that which is imperceptible, either because it moves too slowly or too broadly to be witnessed by the human observant. In short, Pacheco's poetry addresses human-perceived time and natural or deep time in light of the ongoing apocalypse, which, despite the morose tone of the poetry, obliquely urges the reader towards an awareness of eco-apocalypse.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Christensen, Niels H., "The Slow Violence of Eco-Apocalypse in the Poetry of José Emilio Pacheco" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 8961.
eco-apocalypse, eco-poetry, slow violence, ecocriticism, José Emilio Pacheco