Ecopoetics & Climate Writing

In her ‘Covid Time Capsule’ my seven year old daughter wrote that the thing she has learned during lockdown is that “you don’t have to go very far.”

We live in an urban area, less than two miles from Sheffield city centre, and even though we’ve always spent a lot of time outside, during lockdown we discovered wild life and spaces close to our house that we’d never found before: rats in the river, bats near the supermarket, new streams, hidden tracks and paths, rope swings and pockets of woodland: all quieter and cleaner than usual.

Like many people, I’ve thought a lot about the environment during the Covid 19 pandemic. About climate change and inequality, and about how we can make local moves towards more sustainable, fair and peaceful living.

I’m busy at the moment planning a series of wild writing workshops and retreats in September, on the edge of Sheffield and the Peak District, to help people connect with creativity and with nature. More details and dates coming soon!

In the meantime I wanted to share a couple of pre-lockdown projects I was involved with. I have five poems in the Climate Issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. The issue contains 37 poems, essays and stories which push us to think harder about grief, policy, pollution, drought, injustice: a call to debate, to rethink, to act.

Rachel Bower, ‘Haibun Meltdown’, in the Climate Issue of The Mechanics Institute Review

I also had a review in the Ecopoetics Issue of Stand Magazine, edited by the wonderful Vahni Capildeo. The issue includes many brilliant poems and stories, including new work by Pascale Petit and Jason Allen-Paisant. The call is for overwriting, unmaking, resistance and disruption. And there’s also this beautiful cover by Andre Baggoo:

Stand 17.3 Ecopoetics

As things begin to open up around us, I’m trying to keep my daughter’s wise words in mind: we need to think big about issues of climate change and inequality, but perhaps we don’t always have to go very far.

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