“Risk Poem” by Brazilian Poet Maria Rezende

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Brazilian Poet Maria Rezende
Photo Credit: Camilo Lobo on Poet’s Website

My Poetry Corner June 2022 features the Risk Poem (Poema de Risco) from the 2003 debut poetry collection Feminine Substantive (Substantivo Feminino) by Brazilian feminist poet Maria Rezende. Born in 1978 in Rio de Janeiro, she is a poet, performer, cinema and TV editor, and wedding celebrant. During her twenty years of literary life, she has published four collections of poetry.

Growing up in a home where her parents were avid readers, she began reading at an early age. On her thirteenth birthday, her parents gifted her an anthology of poetry by Vinicius de Moraes. While the anthology opened the world of poetry for her, the work of the great poets left her believing that her own verses could add nothing of value.

Six years later, Maria’s lack of confidence in her own voice changed when she attended spoken poetry classes conducted by poet and actress Elisa Lucinda. In learning to recite poems by the renowned poets in the Portuguese language, she freed her voice and began writing poetry. In her 2016 interview with Fabiane Pereira, published in Helosia Tolipan, Rezende said that writing and speaking out loud are inseparable processes for her. “When I write a poem, I immediately read it aloud to feel the rhythm, change words because of this, add or delete verses,” she told him.

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Thought for Today: Parents For A Future

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Front Cover: Parents For A Future: How Loving Our Children Can Prevent Climate Collapse by Rupert Read
Photo Credit: Parents For A Future

I hope [parents for a future] will be fuelled by rage—the righteous rage that springs from love for their most vulnerable. Rage that the world has left it too late to enjoy a smooth transition to a system that can last…. I hope they’ll be honest and courageous enough to face the dreadful reality that things are going to get worse for our children for quite a long time to come even if we now truly do our best…. [Climate disasters] are coming; they are worsening. We can only seek to mitigate them in the true sense of that word. Which means adapting to what is here and what is coming in a manner that mitigates the force of the blow, shrinks as fast as possible the ongoing harm we are doing, and transforms our system to a better one: more local in its economics, more resilient, less materialistic, slower, more equal, more caring and relational, saner…. I hope that you, parents of the future, take it into your own hands, together, to change things in this way, in this direction. I hope that you won’t wait around for [governments] to fix things, but that you’ll get on with transforming your community, and what you can; because y(our) kids can’t wait.

Excerpt from “A Proposal: Parents For A Future” (p. 150), Parents For A Future: How Loving Our Children Can Prevent Climate Collapse by Rupert Read, UEA Publishing Project, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, 2021.

PROFESSOR RUPERT READ is based in the Philosophy Department at the University of East Anglia. He is widely known in the UK for getting the BBC (in 2018) to change its policy of featuring climate-deniers to ‘balance’ the facts when reporting on dangerous human-caused climate change. He has been a national spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion and for the Green Party, and was formerly a two-term elected Green Party local Councillor in Norwich. He is an expert on the Precautionary Principle, on which he has won AHRC grants and written reports for Parliamentarians. He is author of Philosophy for Life: Applying Philosophy in Politics and Culture (2007), This Civilisation is Finished: Conversations on the end of Empire and What Lies Beyond (2019), and Extinction Rebellion: Insights from the Inside (2020).

California: A gardener’s woes in a drought-stricken land

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US Drought Monitor – California – May 31, 2022
Source: US Drought Monitor

Gardening on the weekends has been my lifeline since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020. When I am outdoors among the trees and plants, all my cares and fears disappear. I am fully engaged. I am present. I am at peace.

Since drought is a recurring issue here in California, I have planted mostly succulents that are quite content with watering once or twice a week. Some succulents prefer even longer periods of ten to fourteen days between watering. But a sudden rise in temperatures can shock even the sturdiest of succulents. In March, when we experienced two days of high summer temperatures, a branch of my largest, three-foot high, jade plant collapsed with heat stress. With summer almost upon us, there will be no respite for several other plants that need extra water for giving their best.

Rosaliene’s Garden Plot with Succulents – City of Los Angeles – California – June 3, 2022
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The Writer’s Life: My Struggle to Refocus & Get Back on Track

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Photo Credit: Unsplash / Ismail Mohamed – SoviLe

Since March, fifteen months after putting my current writing project on hold, I have been struggling to get back on track. Lots of false starts. Wasted words. Is my writer’s block an aftereffect of my first encounter in January with the coronavirus? Is it the new medication that my doctor has prescribed to lower my high blood pressure? So much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Our world has changed. I have changed.

I suffered yet another blow with the discouraging news from the United Nations about our slow global response to reducing carbon emissions. Instead of working to cut our emissions by levels recommended by the global climate science community, we continue to release carbon dioxide at renewed speed into Earth’s atmosphere. A more recent report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), released on May 10th, presents an even more dire situation for humanity. We face a 50:50 chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C [2.7℉] above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years – and the likelihood is increasing with time. What’s more, there is a 93% likelihood of at least one year between 2022-2026 becoming the warmest on record and dislodging 2016 from the top ranking.

Faced with this reality of life on Earth, my writing project about the woman as a social construct seems meaningless. Is this the best way of living out my elder years during this cycle of life? Should I focus more on our global existential climate and ecological crisis? That night I went to bed filled with anxiety and doubt about my path ahead.

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Climate Chaos: “Shifts in Doing”

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EcoVillage – Ithaca – New York – USA
Photo Credit: EcoVillage Ithaca

This is Part III and final overview of the book, Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities of Climate Chaos, editors Jem Bendell & Rupert Read (UK/USA 2021). Part III explores some of the ‘shifts in doing’ that occur when people anticipate societal collapse. Here are the links to Part I: “Climate Chaos: Humanity’s Predicament” and Part II: Climate Chaos: “Shifts in Being.”

In his article “Leadership and Management in a Context of Deep Adaptation,” British leadership scholar Professor Jonathan Gosling observes that leadership in periods of collapsing social structures requires maturity to tolerate, contain, and transform anxiety in constructive ways. Leadership of adaptation helps us to reconcile with the situation, evaluate the risks, grieve when we suffer loss, weigh our shrinking options, and choose pragmatic and courageous change. Success relies upon collaboration, partnerships, sharing, and organization. Political, media, and business leaders must also play their part in facilitating the policies and strategies to support deep adaptation.

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“Ex(ile)” – Poem by Trinidadian-born Poet Desiree C. Bailey

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Trinidadian-American Poet Desiree C. Bailey
Photo Credit: Wilton Schereka on Poet’s Website

My Poetry Corner May 2022 features the poem “Ex(ile)” from the debut poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree C. Bailey that won the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Born in the Caribbean island-nation of Trinidad & Tobago, she was nine years old when she migrated with her family to the USA where she grew up in Queens, New York.

Bailey earned a BA from Georgetown University (Washington DC), an MFA in Fiction from Brown University (Rhode Island), and an MFA in Poetry from New York University. In Fall 2022, she will be the Writer-in-Residence at Clemson University (South Carolina).

In her interview with Corrine Collins for Air Light Magazine in September 2021, Bailey described her poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane as “a praise song to the ocean, Black people, Black women, the Caribbean, and struggles for liberation.” The first half of the collection is a long narrative poem titled “Chant for the Waters and Dirt and Blade,” written from the imagined perspective of a young, enslaved husk of girl orphaned   at the ocean’s distant edge / before ship   before humid choke of hull / before trade winds splintering [her] off into the world’s directions. With dreams of freedom, the girl joins other slaves in their fight for liberation during what became known as the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804): freedom: ruthless siren   hurl and shriek / louder   than a dream.

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Mother’s Day: When all life is sacred

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Pregnant woman and baby die after Russian bombing in Mariupol – Ukraine – March 14, 2022
Photo Credit: AP News

We raise our fists in protest to the heavens and pass laws in defense of life flowering in the womb yet think nothing of sacrificing that life to the gods of war.

Only when all life is sacred will we enjoy peace on Earth.

This Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to mothers worldwide who have fled violence and war-torn zones to save their children.

Mother and children flee war-torn Ukraine
Photo Credit: NDTV
Mother and children in war-torn Yemen
Photo Credit: Oxfam/Sami M Jassar
Mother with child in war-torn region of Ethiopia
Photo Credit: CNS/Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
Somali mother and children arrive in refugee camp in Kenya
Photo Credit: UNICEF/Riccardo Gangale
Mothers from Central America arrive at US/Mexico border
Photo Credit: Time/John Moore
Myanmar Rohingya Muslim Mother & Child in Bangladesh refugee camp
Photo Credit: World Vision

Guest Post: “The State of the Earth 2022” by Pam Lazos

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An Inconvenient Truth – Documentary Film
Photo Credit: Green Life Blue Water Blog

In her article “The State of the Earth 2022,” published on her blog Green Life Blue Water, American environment lawyer and author Pam Lazos provides an unsettling critique of where humanity stands when it comes to dealing with the inconvenient truth of our climate crisis and the threat to life as we know it on Planet Earth.


Not your typical Earth Day post

There are only two roads in life, growing and dying. Tolbert McCarroll, Notes from the Song of Life

Earth Day 2022.  If you want to know how it all started, you can read last year’s post on the first Earth Day.  If you want to know how we’re doing (così così — so so in Italian), you can read Jeff Goodell’s article in Rolling Stone this week entitled, The Climate Fight Isn’t Lost. Here are 10 Ways to Win.  And if you want to know where to hide until it’s all over, read Paul Greenberg’s Is Anywhere Safe From Climate Change which is a solution for maybe less than one half of one percent of us, but I totally get the sentiment.  The real truth is,  Environmental Justice is critical as Adele Costa tells us in her article Hog Waste Plastic Petals, and Cancer in the Air:  The Intersection Between Environmental Justice and Women’s Health, and if we don’t take care of the most vulnerable among us, it will be lights out for all of us.


Read the complete article by Pam Lazos published on her blog Green Life Blue Water, April 22, 2022.

“March is March” by American Poet Emily Skaja

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American Poet Emily Skaja (Kaitlyn Stoddard Photography)
Book Cover Art: Walton Ford, Gleipnir

My Poetry Corner April 2022 features the poem “March is March” from the debut poetry collection Brute (Graywolf Press, 2019) by American poet Emily Skaja. Born and raised next to a cemetery in rural Illinois, Skaja earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Purdue University (Indiana) and a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) where she also earned a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at the University of Memphis, Tennessee, where she resides.

Winner of the 2018 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, Brute is largely autobiographical and took five years to write, beginning in 2012. The poems deal with grief, partner violence, transformation, break-ups, and voicelessness. The poet also examines her role in a situation of abuse, control, and obsession.

The book’s title is “used pejoratively to describe the abusive behavior of the men in the book,” Skaja told Ross Nervig during their 2019 conversation for The Adroit Journal, “but it is also a word the speaker uses critically against herself, in examining the way she responded to violence with violence.” She added that the book explores “the way that women are set up to be victims of patriarchal, violent behavior while at the same time using those same tactics to defend themselves.”

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Climate Chaos: “Shifts in Being”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is the second of a three-part series of overviews of the book, Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities of Climate Chaos, Edited by Jem Bendell & Rupert Read (UK/USA 2021). Here’s the link to Part I: “Climate Chaos: Humanity’s Predicament.”

Part II (chapters 4 to 8) of the book explores the ‘shifts in being’ that can occur and be supported in the event of a societal collapse due to the planetary climate and ecological crises. In Chapter 4, psychologist and co-founder of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) Dr. Adrian Tait describes the ways in which psychotherapists are beginning to change in response to growing public distress, giving rise to the terms ‘climate-distress’ or ‘eco-distress.’

The CPA came into being in the United Kingdom during 2009-2012 following the mobilization of psychotherapists and academics in the field concerned about increasing evidence of climate and ecological destabilization due to human activities. The alliance has two main objectives:

  1. To promote understanding of the way our minds work in preventing us from acting in the face of climate chaos, and
  2. To develop support systems for those of us who are committed to persistent engagement in dealing with humanity’s predicament.

“Support is essential,” Dr. Tait notes. “If we have not been racked by grief over what is happening, then we are shutting its meaning out of our hearts and bodies. But if we remained immersed in grief alone, we would become part of the wreckage. The loss is continuous and mounting, which prevents us from moving on as in normal mourning. We need relief from the pain” (p.106).

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