Better Nature



Much of the language that makes up Better Nature—the first poetry collection by writer and academic Fenn Stewart—is drawn from a diary that Walt Whitman wrote while travelling through Canada at the end of the nineteenth century.

But rather than waxing poetic about the untouched Great White North, Stewart inlays found materials (early settler archives, news stories, email spam, fundraising for environmental NGOs, and more) to present a unique view of Canada’s “pioneering” attitude towards “wilderness”—one that considers deeper issues of the settler appropriation of Indigenous lands, the notion of terra nullius, and the strategies and techniques used to produce a “better nature” (that is, one that better serves the nation).

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About the Author

Fenn Stewart

Dr. Fenn Stewart teaches in the Department of English and the Coordinated Arts Program. Her research on Canadian literature, culture, and law is informed by critical race and Indigenous studies approaches. Fenn is currently working on her first scholarly book. Excerpts from the project have appeared in the journals ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature and Law, Culture and the Humanities; new research will soon appear in Contemporary Verse 2.