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Checking in with JBWC Fellow, Jonah!

JBWC Fellow Jonah Ruddock has been busy this month working on his Fellow project: a micro-chapbook about microplastics, which he hopes to turn into a zine. Why microplastics? As Jonah explains:

“Microplastics are ripe to be examined through an ecopoetic/ecocritical lens because their infiltration of human bodies, and the idea that they will be able to pass through protective membranes within, devastatingly illustrates the interrelatedness of the natural world (and our subsequent need to, in the words of Gregory Bateson, shift our conceptualization of a ‘unit of survival’ from species to organism-in-ecosystem). The fact that the effects of microplastic’s presence in plants and animals are currently unknown begs comparisons with God: ubiquitous, mysterious, of our own creation, conjuring up images of guilt and sin.

The odyssey of a microplastic is long, convoluted, and fascinating. Plastics resist the cycles of growth and decay, yet are made from the remains of ecosystems millions of years old. Their manufacturing requires an almost violent upending of history, and their release into the ecosphere is causing a violent acceleration of history. They have left no corner of the planet untouched. I am interested in what this kind of speaker, perhaps juxtaposed with a human one, would have to say.”

Since beginning his project, Jonah has visited Just Buffalo to explore our library for inspiring texts and to peruse a collection of zines we have on loan from Sugar City. Writing Center Director, Robin Jordan, crafted a reading list and series of prompts to help support his project. He’s also been receiving mentorship from poets Christina Vega-Westhoff and Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and will be meeting with staff at Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to ​​learn about how microplastics might be affecting his local community/ecosystem and the work being done by people in town to mitigate it.

We asked Jonah what texts he’s found most inspiring for his project thus far and thought we’d share the list with you!

We can’t wait to share the results of his thoughtful work later this summer!

Jonah Ruddock Blind Contour Portrait by Samantha Serrano

Blind Contour Portrait by Samantha Serrano