Sunday, 31 October 2010


On Saturday, I attended a poetry and climate change workshop, organised by Awel Aman Tawe, an organisation committed to sustainable development and change. Emily Hinshelwood has recently become the Development Officer and set up a number of events using the arts as a means to raise awareness of climate change. This workshop was lead by environmental poet, Sue Richardson, my favorite course leader and a few of us Pontadawe Script cafe members were among the 11 participating. Sue's starting point was a quote from Paul Kingsworth of the Dark Mountain Project, 'A Manifesto of the Future',
   'And so we find ourselves, all of us together, poised trembling on the edge of a change so massive that we have no way of gauging it. None of us knows where to look, but all of us know not to look down . . Our question is: what would happen if we looked down? Would it be as bad as we imagine? What might we see?'
We responded by free writing, tapping into our sub conscious and later drafting a poem inspired by this. As is usual with Sue's format, we also studied the form of a poem, this time a terzarima, a chain of rhymes, by a Hungarian poet, Georg Szirtes, 'Death by Deluge', and part of a collection, 'Earth Shattering'.

All this may sound terribly depressing. The outcomes of Copenhagen were depressing. No agreements on carbon emissions. Now with the government set on decimating the less well off, public sector employees and social services, everyone's talking about the economy and it feels like climate change has slipped off the edge of the political agenda. This kind of workshop where like-minded concerned individuals come together, the over riding feeling is of solidarity and hope. Who knows where the words of one poem about climate change will land and seed?

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