Our 2015 Poets for Change event will be a book launch for Winds of Change: Short Stories about Our Climate (poster coming soon!). The event will take place at the Burnaby Public Library on Willingdon Avenue from 7-8:45 p.m., November 17th.
Winds of Change, coming October 16th, is an anthology of short stories and poetry from a writing contest held in the summer of 2014. Our outreach site, Eco-fiction.com, hosted the contest and chose the topic of climate change. We received hundreds of submissions from around the world, but selected just over 20 to feature in a virtual event last year, which included an interactive website that had teasers of the stories submitted and a beautiful video of nature scenes around the world–photographs taken by the authors. The winner of the contest, with his story “First Light,” Robert Sassor is Director at Metropolitan Group, a leading social change agency and one of B Lab’s 100 “best for the world” corporations.
This year is like the second part of that contest, with a book launch resulting from the Vancouver 2014 100TPC event. Our launch readers include a handful of Vancouver authors as well as an author from the UK! Not all the contributors can be there, but we know they will be in spirit.
We wish to thank Michael Rothenberg for his involvement (see his foreword for the book below), Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org) for his generous blurb about the book, and the Burnaby Public Library for believing that engaging the public about climate change in art and literature is important–and further, for helping to promote our event.
The realities of global warming and the decimation of the environment have eroded the parameters of time and space, and have turned the human psyche upside-down. The painful truth of the destruction brought on by the human race has jangled our nerves and imagination. We have pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zone to a nightmare world of broken dreams. We know what the future is like because the future is now.
Science fiction is now a love story; a love story is now a political satire. The environment is inside and outside of us all, and there is suffering and confusion. As a result, poets, writers, and artists of every discipline have begun a powerful and unceasing global analysis of what the world is, and what it will be like, for our children, as everything we thought we knew about our planet Earth has been compromised and set adrift.
Winds of Change is a historic document born out of a short story contest held in conjunction with 100 Thousand Poets (Authors) for Change. The purpose of this global event is to amplify the movement of poets and writers—and all artists who hope, through their actions and events—to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day, and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability. Change is in the air.
The more I read this anthology, the more I understand the raw essentiality of this movement. We have seen quite a few anthologies of poetry spring up since the birth of 100TPC in 2011, but this is the first anthology specifically focused on issues of sustainability and the first to call out to fiction writers to join the discussion. Some say that poetry, art, writing, and music aren’t supposed to make a change—that they can’t make a change. They say they like to “keep their poetry and their politics separate.” They like to quote Auden’s “In Memory of W.B. Yeats,” singling out the line “poetry makes nothing happen.” (Read “fiction makes nothing happen.”) But, by my understanding, Auden’s words run deeper and stronger and are more essential than a chastisement of mixing your art and politics. In fact, for me, Auden suggests the opposite by context. Art belongs to civilization, and what we deliver from the imagination transposes and unearths our understanding of who we are and what we do as humans. Civilization is the platform for these creative works of change. The moment we say “poetry makes nothing happen,” something indeed happens.
We follow Winds of Change, and we search for understanding and direction. The writers in this great collection offer us hope against the fear that we have gone too far in our experiment of destruction. There is beauty here. Change is coming. Let us begin anew!
–Michael Rothenberg, founder of 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC)
ORGANIZER: Mary Woodbury