This thesis assesses the intersection between the pastoral and contemporary ecopoetics, through case studies of four Australian and American settler poets – Randolph Stow, William Stafford, Juliana Spahr and Tracy Ryan. It demonstrates greater continuity between the pastoral and ecopoetics than has been assumed previously. In particular, it focuses on how a reconceptualisation of the pastoral as a social, communalform can engage with an ecopoetics interested in overcoming the dualistic construction of self/other and self/world. Drawing from the work of Paul Alpers and Val Plumwood, pastoral as it emerges in this thesis is invested in the collective. Using Alpers’ understanding of the pastoral herdsmen as fundamentally limited by “human strength relative to the world”, I argue that each of the four poets considered in this thesis uses the figure of the poet-shepherd to question the role that poetry and the poet can play in addressing the large, irresolvable social issues of the nation and planet, including the anthropocene.
 “Community of Communities” is drawn from Evelyn Reilly’s “Eco-Noise and the Flux of Lux” (260).