The most powerful depiction of illness in Elizabethan London was a lyric poem by the urban pamphleteer and stylistic experimentalist Thomas Nashe, who probably died of the plague around 1600.


Rather than ignoring the toxic legacies of our industrial past, what if we engaged with remnants such as Newtown Creek to imagine a more fluid and dynamic Antropocene that moves away from green fantasies towards assessing troubling but necessary realities? 


The Anthropocene accounts for a vast swath of human and natural history, but there are limits to its scope encouraging the proliferation of numerous other 'cenes. From the Chthulucene to the Anglocene, these terms explain our ecological present from a myriad of different perspectives. 


Poetry has long been fascinated with describing the dislocating effects of sea travel and still serves as a conceptual refuge for those lost at sea in a contemporary world. 


Rather than marking the advent of "modernity," the year 1610 commemorates a wave of permanent human-induced changes to the Earth system. 


Living in Nature requires — and sometimes rewards — errancy.

Steve Mentz's picture
Steve Mentz
Professor of English
I teach English literature at St John's in New York City, with a focus on the blue humanities , Shakespeare, ecocriticism, and histories of changing media technologies. My current book publications include a short book, "Ocean," in Bloomsbury's Object Lessons series (2020); an open-source book, "Break Up the Anthropocene," in U Minnesota Press's Forerunners Series (2019); *Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization, 1550-1719* (U Minnesota P, 2015); and a collection of essays, *Oceanic New York*, that respond to New York's urban waterways, Hurricane Sandy, and the place of art in times of crisis. I'm working now on the blue humanities and rising seas in the Anthropocene.


Bloomsbury / Object Lessons | 2020/March
Break Up the Anthropocene
U Minnesota P / Forerunners | 2019/July
Routledge Handbook for Marine and Maritime Worlds, 1400-1800
Routledge | 2020
The Age of Thomas Nashe
Ashgate | 2014
Shipwreck Modernity
U Minnesota Press | 2015

Steve Mentz is reading

The Oyster War
Tree Story: A History of the World Written in Rings
The Chronology of Water