Dr. Anne Karhio is a researcher in contemporary Irish poetry as well as digital literature and culture. She is a graduate of the University of Helsinki and holds a PhD in English from the National University of Ireland in Galway. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Irish Research Council –funded project, “Republic of Conscience: Human Rights and Modern Irish Poetry,” at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, and has also contributed to the European Research Council -funded project, “Machine Vision in Everyday Life: Playful Interactions with Visual Technologies in Digital Art, Games, Narratives and Social Media,” at the University of Bergen, Norway. She has published widely on contemporary Irish poetry, place and landscape, and digital media aesthetics. She is the author of Slight Return: Paul Muldoon’s Poetics of Space (Peter Lang, 2016), and co-editor of Crisis and Contemporary Poetry (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011).
Drawing on Seamus Heaney’s espousal of the “writer as righter” (2010), this paper will discuss the relationship between poetry, human rights, and activism in an interconnected world. What is the role of the poet in times of great crises? To what extent, if at all, have poets engaged critically with the concept of human rights itself, especially in light of the interdependency of human and non-human life forms and ecosystems? What is the relevance of the national paradigm in an era of global networks where information, capital, goods, and discourse traverse geographical and political borders? This paper will discuss the ethical and aesthetic role of poetry in what many regard as a posthuman era.