Writing Alumnus E.J. McAdams ’98 Publishes New Ecopoetic Collection

Lisa Cochran
September 19, 2023

Writing alumnus E.J. McAdams ’98 published LAST, a collection of poetry, with BlazeVOX last month. 

LAST is a collection of ecopoetic works that confront what it means to exist in the anthropocene and all of its pitfalls. McAdams fuses specific images from nature—a broken-beaked peregrine in a freezer, the last of a species being born, and musings after a devastating wildfire—with the urban landscape. He channels figures at the intersection of the city and the natural world such as naturalists, environmental educators, and urban birdwatchers. 

Marcella Durand, author of To husband is to tender,  writes, “I recommend reading E.J. McAdams’ LAST out loud, singing/shouting each line in city parks, the subway, the office. Let it echo off the walls 'amidst skyscrapers' in an elegy for our ecology/our planet/our lives that is devastating, but joyous still in its love for what was and what might still be possible: 'Nature be/ Nature be was/ Nature be is/ Nature be will be.'” 

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Writing Edwin Torres, says of the collection, “In LAST, E.J. McAdams dares human resilience to witness extinction and what happens inside the middle voice, where 'predicates of existing and happening' elevate stillness beyond survival. What the body wants in nature, to hear the wonder of sensory language—this book explores how nature’s mouth is our own if we listen.”

E.J. McAdams often writes about the urban environment using found and natural materials as well as improvisation. One of McAdams’ solo exhibits, an installation called Trees Are Alphabets, was featured at The Bronx Museum of The Arts and he curated a reading series at EXIT ART on Social-Environmental-Aesthetics from 2009-2012. He has published five chapbooks and a collection of his poetry was anthologized in Poetics for the More-than-Human World. His poems can be found in The Paris Review, EOAGH, About Place Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, Pamenar Online Magazine, unarmed journal, eccolinguistics, and elsewhere.