Poetry & Climate & Emergency

Featuring Robert Minhinnick, Kristian Evans, Sampurna Chattarji, Kate Simpson and Aaron Kent. Chaired by Zoë Brigley

Date: Friday 29th July
Time: 1:00pM
Venue: Theatre
Price: £5.00 / £3.00

What can the arts do to help mitigate climate change?

In this panel, six editors of recent climate emergency anthologies consider this question, as well as sharing poems from their respective anthologies and describing what they found in putting together their anthologies. 

Climate emergency is more urgent than ever, as due to the Ukraine War, the world has come to an important moment in recognizing the problematic nature of our oil and gas dependency. Will this be an impetus to make change though? What holds us back, and what can writers and artists do about it? How can we encourage people to engage and pay attention? How can we mitigate paralysing climate doomism and depression? 

These questions will be discussed in the light of four recent anthologies. Eminent Welsh writer Robert Minhinnick edited Gorwelion / Horizons  (Parthian 2021), and he will be accompanied by contributor and advisor, the renowned Indian writer,  Sampurna Chattarji. Kate Simpson will discuss Out of Time: Poems from a Climate Emergency (Valley Press, 2021), along with Aaron Kent, co-editor of Footprints: An Anthology of New Ecopoetry (Broken Sleep, 2022). Finally Zoe Brigley and Kristian Evans represent 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren 2021). Does this renewed interest in anthologies about the climate suggest that climate emergency is the subject for our time?

Authors

Robert Minhinnick is one of Wales’ (some would say Britain’s) most eminent writers. He is a multi-prizewinning poet, essayist and novelist whose work has won or been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Poetry, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the Sunday Times Short Story Award, the Edge Hill Short Story Prize and Wales Book of the Year. 

Minhinnick is also an environmentalist and founder of Friends of the Earth Cymru and Sustainable Wales, who has written extensively on the environment. He recently edited Gorwelion: Shared Horizons (Parthian, 2021) a book of essays about climate change.  Photo credit: Eamon Burke.

Kristian Evans is a Welsh working-class writer, poet and editor exploring ecologies and the more-than-human. He was co-editor of Magma Poetry 79, a special issue on ‘dwelling’. He has published chapbooks with HappenStance, Unleaving, and Broken Sleep, Otherworlds. He co-edited 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren) and is author of the column, ‘A Kenfig Journal’, for Sustainable Wales. Photo credit: Oscar Evans.

Sampurna Chattarji has published twenty books. These include the short story collection about Bombay/Mumbai, Dirty Love (Penguin, 2013); and three novels. The most recent of her ten poetry titles are Elsewhere Where Else / Lle Arall Ble Arall (Poetrywala, 2018) and Space Gulliver: Chronicles of an Alien (HarperCollins, 2020), the outcome of a Charles Wallace writing residency at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Sampurna’s translation of Joy Goswami’s prose poems After Death Comes Water (HarperCollins, 2021) has been lauded as a recreation of the Bangla originals in “a living voice, as inventive and vivid as the English of Joyce”. Photo credit: Richard Hooton.

Kate Simpson is an editor, author, poet and journalist from York, UK. She is Associate Editor at Aesthetica Magazine, and Editor at Large for Valley Press. She is editor of Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency, published this in 2021 to coincide with 50 years of Friends of the Earth. Kate’s poetry has been published in numerous newspapers, collections and literary festivals including W.N. Hebert’s collection New Boots and Pantisocracies: Poems for the Austere GenerationThe Morning Star and Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal.

Aaron Kent is a working-class writer and award-winning publisher from Cornwall, now living in Wales. He runs the Michael Marks Publishing Award winning press Broken Sleep Books. He was awarded the Awen medal from the Bards of Cornwall for his poetry pamphlet The Last Hundred. He is co-editor of Footprints: An Anthology of New Ecopoetry (Broken Sleep, 2022).

Zoë Brigley is editor of Poetry Wales, and poetry editor at Seren. She published three poetry books from Bloodaxe, most recently Hand & Skull (2019). All three were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Her debut The Secret (2007) won an Eric Gregory Award for the best British poets under 30 and was longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize for the best international writers under 40. 

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