Thursday, March 24, 2016

#SplitThisRock2016 Sessions: Environmental Justice

We are pleased to present a selection of sessions on the theme of environmental justice at Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016: Poems of Provocation & Witness.

For the full festival program, please visit the program page here.

Eco-Feminist Poetry, Intersectionality, & the End of the Earth
Jess X. Chen, Laura Brown-Lavoie, Cecilia Pineda, Hila Ratzabi
AFL-CIO Gompers Room [Map]
Thursday, April 14 11:30am – 1:00pm

Solastalgia (n.): the pain experienced when the place that one lives is under immediate assault. Today, rapid ocean acidification and rising CO2 levels drive the Earth and its eight million species closer to collapse. As the colonial world expands, borders are being violently redrawn, further pushing what's left of the wild out of their homes. As climate change endangers our material, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, our response must be both intersectional and radical. As eco-feminist poets and environmental activists of diverse backgrounds, we respond to this crisis with fierce and visceral poems. The poets will each read and perform new work and then participate in a Q&A with the audience. A multimedia visual art presentation featuring interactive examples of eco-feminist art, music, and activism will accompany the reading. Through poetry and discussions of eco-feminist activism, we will explore the ways women, immigrants, indigenous peoples, and the Earth are entwined not only in the violence and silencing they face, but in their struggles and resilience.
Photo by Kristin Adair.

Whose World Is This?: Poetry, Equality, and the Earth
Teri Cross Davis, Brian Gilmore, Ailish Hopper, Ernesto Mercer
Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room [Map]
Thursday, April 14 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Four poets share poetry inspired by a question poet Haki Madhubuti uttered in 1987: "Who owns the earth?” In recent years, a movement called "Degrowth" has sought to seriously consider that question, as these poets will through poetry. We want a better world, cleaner, less pollution, a world of environmentally conscious people who realize the current path of growth and more growth is destructive. But what about equality in this new world we seek? Will the new world be one in which equality, especially along racial and ethnic lines, will also be a goal? Will the Global North share equitably with the Global South as the necessary changes are made? Will the West continue to exploit the Global South for the sake of endless economic growth that cannot possibly save the planet? This reading, the writings of four well known poets, and the writings of others, will explore these ideals.

Environmental Justice Activism: Report from the Field Angela Adrar, Janet Redman, Michele Roberts, Melissa Tuckey
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 300 [Map]
Thursday, April 14 4:00pm – 5:30pm

From grassroots action against polluting industries in communities of color and low income communities to climate negotiations in Paris, activist and policy analysts offer perspective on this particular moment in environmental history. What are the priorities? What are the stories that need to be heard?  Where are the sources for hope? Janet Redman, Director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies, joins Michele Roberts, Co-Director of the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, for a discussion about key issues in the environmental justice movement and a brainstorming session on how poets can contribute to these movements. Facilitated by Melissa Tuckey.

Writing about Animals in the Anthropocene
Kazim Ali, Allison Pitinii Davis, Gabriel Gudding, Ross Gay, Gretchen Primack
Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives Room 102 [Map]
Friday, April 15 11:30am – 1:00pm

Graceful deer, loyal dogs, the white chickens by that red wheelbarrow--we poets love our animal poems. But the way we look at animals has changed so much over the years as we learn about their consciousness and their treatment in our age. As those of us concerned about environmental justice look more deeply into the dynamics between humans and (other) animals, how has our writing changed? How can we write environmental justice into our animal poems? What is a "progressive" animal poem? The writers on this panel will share poems and ideas about these very questions and ask participants to share theirs. We will participate in freewriting and listen to each other's work.

A Preview Reading from Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology
Martín Espada, Ross Gay, Tiffany Higgins, Linda Hogan, Craig Santos Perez, Emmy Pérez, Melissa Tuckey
AFL-CIO Gompers Room [Map]
Photo by Kristin Adair.
Friday, April 15 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Poets in this session will give a preview read from the forthcoming Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology and participate in a Q & A about eco-justice poetry. Aligned with environmental justice activism and thought, eco-justice poetry defines environment as “the place we work, live, play, and worship.” This is a shift from romantic Western notions of nature as a pristine wilderness outside of ourselves, toward recognizing the environment as home: a source of life, health, and livelihood. It is poetry born of deep cultural attachment to the land and poetry born of crisis. It is recognition that the fate of the land is connected to the fate of people. Recent linguistics studies show that the most bio-diverse parts of the world are also the most culturally diverse. In places where biodiversity is threatened, linguistic diversity and culture are also threatened: current thinking in conservation acknowledges the connection between culture and environment. And yet, many western nature anthologies are monocultural. Ghost Fishing brings together a culturally and stylistically diverse collection of poets and poems to expand environmental consciousness.

Farm to Table to Poem: A Food Justice Poetry Workshop
Craig Santos Perez, Aiko Yamashiro
Institute for Policy Studies Conference Room [Map]
Saturday, April 16 2:00pm – 3:30pm

This workshop will begin with a brief introduction to the cultures, histories, politics, and poetics of food in Hawaiʻi. The workshop facilitators will also share their own experiences, activism, and poetry related to the Pacific food justice and sovereignty movement. Then, they will guide the attendees through generative food writing prompts, sharing and discussing the poems around the workshop table. Lastly, we will brainstorm creative ways that we can bring food poetry to our own communities.

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