‘The Name Blossomed’: Landscapes, Habitats and the Botanical Poetry of South-West Australia


  • John Charles Ryan Edith Cowan University




Ecocriticism, nature writing, green cultural studies, cultural botany


Habitat poetry represents the lives of plants, animals and the features of the natural world within their ecological networks. Commonly detailing physical contact with nature, habitat poetry narrates moments in which the senses engage with ecological processes. Additionally, habitat awareness in poetry tends to convey a sense of grappling with scientific discourses. These characterisations of habitat poetry will be articulated in the context of the biodiverse South-West of Western Australia. The works of South-West poets Alec Choate (1915-2010) (Gifts; A Marking; Mind); Andrew Lansdown (1954-); and John Kinsella (1963) (Poems; The New Arcadia) use sensory language to express something about nature and convey the dynamics between science and poetry. The concept of habitat provides an interpretative framework for reading Choate,  Lansdown and Kinsella. The three could be described not only as landscape poets but more precisely as habitat poets, a distinction pursued in this discussion.