Phoebe Campion, King's

Degree: PhD
Course: English
Supervisor: Prof Robert Macfarlane
Dissertation Title:

‘Not Infinite Enough’: Experimental British Poetics, Industrial Ecologyand Scarcity, 1969–present.

Biographical Information

I graduated with a BA (1st) in English Literature from Cambridge in 2016 with the Agnes Cann Memorial Prize for my archival dissertation on the work of J.A. Baker. After working as an artist’s assistant for two years, I returned to Cambridge for the MPhil in Criticism + Culture (King’s College, 2018-19), graduating with a distinction and a thesis on the granular poetics of R.F. Langley’s Journals. I am currently in the final year of my PhD here at Cambridge, funded by the AHRC. I’m a staff writer for Another Gaze journal, and write regularly on politics, ecology, art and the moving-image for publications including MAP Magazine, LUX, etc.

Research Interests

My doctoral work lies at the intersection of literature, visual culture, political ecology and critical theory. My thesis assesses the relationship between experimental British ecopoetics, literary form and landscapes of ecological exhaustion, offering detailed studies of three key terrains - the monocultural field, the forestry plantation and the desertified pastureland - and the close engagement with these sites by three late-modernist poets: J.H. Prynne, Peter Larkin and Carol Watts. These terrains have tended to fall outside the scope of existing humanities scholarship on cultures of extractivism, which typically centres the 'petroscapes' of fossil fuel extraction and combustion in discussions of resource exhaustion. By contrast, my thesis explores how these less obvious sites of what Anna Tsing calls 'industrial ecology' have compelled ecopoetic and artistic attention in persistently fraught and generative ways over the last fifty years, provoking ambivalent reckonings with questions of resource, finitude and exhaustion. I theorise a poetics of scarcity as emergent from these landscapes, drawing on archival material to illuminate the densely-patterned negotiations with scarcity, sufficiency and surplus that mark these bodies of work. Couching my readings within the competing discourses of historical and new materialisms, I explore how formally innovative British ecopoetics both clarifies and contests these intensifying devates, drawing out the resources it offers for ecological ethics and poetic practice in an age of exhaustion. 

Broader research interests: twentieth-century and contemporary literature; ecopoetics; late-modernism; the British Poetry Revival; American avant-garde poetics; marxist and new materialist philosophies & critical theory; philosophies of science; political ecology; commons; cultures of the Anthropocene; earth ethics; environmental justice scholarship; activist poetics & militant ecologies; visual & material culture; curatorial practice; land art; site-writing; experimental film & artist's moving-image; feminist geography; eco-theology.

Selected Publications


‘Opaque Animals: Andrea Arnold’s ‘Cow’ and Optic Failure’, Another Gaze 06, forthcoming 2023

‘Embracing Entropy: Sandra Lahire’s Anti-Nuclear Trilogy’, for ‘A Moving X-Ray': Seven Films by Sandra Lahire, Another Screen Spring Programme, May 2022

‘Peggy Ahwesh’s Ambivalent Occultism’, Another Gaze 05, October 2021

‘Dwelling and Devotional Labour in Honeyland (2019)', Another Gaze 05, October 2021

‘Unsettling Ecologies: Basma Alsharif’s ‘We Began By Measuring Distance’ (2019)’, MAP Magazine #62, June 2021

‘Dreamscapes & Ethnospheres: Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong’s KRABI, 2562 (2019)' - companion essay for the Anti-Worlds Blu-ray. Another Gaze 04, 2020

‘Earth Signs: Reading The Post-Pastoral In Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders (2019)', Another Gaze 02, 2019