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October 2021 Dispatch
Watch Your Head at See You Again Festival
Watch Your Head has been busy!
On October 1, 2021, Watch Your Head Editors June Pak and Sanchari Sur curated a screening and reading for the See You Again Festival. We have included some photos from this incredible night below.
Watch Your Head was also at Word Vancouver on September 24, 2021 talking about climate anthologies, and in September we published works from Moni Brar and Ann Covlovic.
In this issue, we share some work from the archive, recommended reading, and contributor updates.
Hope you enjoy!
Watch Your Head
September on Watch Your Head
Two Poems by Moni Brar
“Stan’s House” by Ann CavlovicWatch Your Head News and Updates
Watch Your Head News & Events
See Your Again Festival, October 1, 2021
After getting rained out on September 25, Watch Your Head presented a screening and reading curated by Editors June Pak and Sanchari Sur at the Oculus Common’s See You Again Festival on October 1, 2021!
Thanks to Allison Lang and Tram Nghiem for organizing this festival and inviting Watch Your Head to be a part of it.
Here are some photos from this wonderful night of art, writing, and collaboration!
Watch Your Head presented 7 artists and 5 writers in this program of reading and video screening at the Oculus Pavilion in Toronto’s waterfront. The works in this program bring our attention to the interconnectivity of the climate crisis and urban ecology. Wind, water, trees, animals were once major and essential parts of our life, but now they are replaced by concrete, plastic and Capitalism. Convenience took over caring for nature; efficiency replaced the respect for the life cycle; financial gains ran over our consciousness.
Five writers, one editor of the Watch Your Head anthology (Jacqueline Valencia) and four previous contributors (Yohani Mendis, Khashayar Mohammadi, Jody Chan, and Karen Lee), meditate on relationality—with nature, with our surrounding space, the Oculus Pavilion, and the overarching theme of the festival, “See You Again”. The way we relate to each other has its basis in being human, being alive, being here in this moment; that despite our (geographical and other) positions, we function in similar ways. What can be more incredible than that?
Previous contributors of Watch Your Head (Fiona Tinwei Lam, Choe Rayun, Shelley Niro) share their observations of elements of nature (or lack thereof) within the urban setting. Hong-Lee, HyunSook from Korea provides us with gleams of a soon-to-be disappearing area in her performative video with stray cats. The greedy sand mining business is documented in a poetic and whimsical gesture in Alexandra Gelis and Jorge Lozano’s work. Christina Battle’s work Water once ruled makes us think of the past, present, and future state of Earth in relation to Mars’ past. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s words and visualization of those words by Sammy Chien/Chimerik 似不像 in their collaborative work Solidification ᒪᔥᑲᐗᒋ give us a moment to contemplate and reconnect us with our conscious.
Sanchari Sur is the recipient of a 2018 Lambda Literary Fellowship in fiction, and a PhD candidate in English at Wilfrid Laurier University. Their work can be found in Electric Literature, AAWW’s The Margins, Al Jazeera, Ploughshares, Joyland, Toronto Book Award shortlisted The Unpublished City (2017), and elsewhere.
June Pak (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her works have been shown in Canada and abroad. She received the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Visual Arts (2004) and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship for her research in Korea (2017). She joined the Watch Your Head editorial team in 2019.
Free Climate Writing Workshop on November 24, 2021
Watch Your Head publisher Kathryn Mockler is facilitating a free workshop for the Wise Words Series from the BC Federation of Writers.
Register here for this free virtual workshop.
Day/Time: November 24, 2021 at 1:00pm (Pacific) / 4:00pm (EST)
In this workshop, Kathryn Mockler, publisher of Watch Your Head, will discuss writing creatively about the climate crisis. Climate writing and art can be a powerful tool for imagining new futures, dealing with climate grief, raising awareness, taking action, resisting, engaging in community, and much more. Kathryn will discuss the Watch Your Head website and print anthology, will share some strategies and prompts for writing poems, stories, or plays about the climate crisis, and will provide information about groups and collectives who are also doing work in this area.
Watch Your Head Publisher, Kathryn Mockler, participated in a virtual panel at Word Vancouver on September 24, 2021 hosted by Fiona Tinwei Lam and with fellow climate anthology editors Christine Lowther (Tree Anthology, forthcoming/ongoing from Caitlin Press), Yvonne Blomer (Refugium and Sweet Water, Caitlin Press), Catriona Sandilands (Rising Tides, Caitlin Press) where we discussed how anthologies can be an effective form of collective action and protest in face of the climate crisis and relentless human encroachment upon this planet’s precious ecosystems.
You can watch it on YouTube!
From the Watch Your Head Archive
De-iced by Barry Pottle
I am from Nunatsiavut (in Labrador). We Inuit have always been known as “Sikumiut; People of the Sea”, meaning that we lived and survived by the sea ice as a means for subsistence, travel, traditional cultural practices (as well as contemporary). In the four Inuit Regions Nunatsiavut (in Labrador), Nunavik (in Arctic Quebec), Nunavut and Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Western Arctic, we see the most effects of ice loss due to climate change.
Each year it takes longer for ice to form and as a result, hunter and trappers and community members are not able to go out on the ice or land, leading to less food for both hunter and community. Our Ice is melting and we are all at fault (humanity). We have no one else to blame but us and humans are contributing to loss of practices, changes in animal migration, traditions, community well-being, less time on the land and less interaction with the environment.
As an Inuk living in Ottawa, I ask myself, do people really understand the potential and real risk of climate change? How is it affecting our regions, our lives and our environment. Do we understand the consequences and effects associated with melting snow and ice; natural disasters, time, awareness, funding and polices or lack of them. Who is talking about it, who is concerned about it, and what are we going to do as a result of it? The images selected from my Ice Works is an attempt to bring awareness to and of climate change and global warming from an urban Inuk artist’s perspective.
View more images from this series here.
Watch Your Head Recommended Reads
“Brutes: Meditations on the myth of the voiceless” by Amitav Ghosh, Orion Magazine
THE QUESTIONS of who is a brute and who is fully human, who makes meaning and who does not, lie at the core of the planetary crisis.
Read more here.
Birds need Technoparc's natural areas, and so do we by Saleema Nawaz, Montreal Gazette
It's critical to preserve this biodiverse 215 hectare tract, but on a recent visit, evidence of encroaching development was everywhere.
Read more here.
Journalists need to tell the stories of climate disaster survivors by Sean Holman, Focus on Victoria
WILDFIRES, DROUGHTS, FLOODS, EXTREME STORMS: we are living in a time when climate change should be the biggest story of our time. Yet, as the recent federal election proved, all too often it doesn’t even make the headlines. As the new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental and Climate Journalism with the University of Victoria’s Department of Writing, Sean Holman hopes to bring a more human dimension to the climate crisis—what he sees as part of the solution.
Read more here.
Watch Your Head Contributor News
Watch Your Head Editor and contributor Fiona Tinwei Lam writes about anti-Asian racism and hate in “Warning Signs” for Maisonneuve Magazine
A year into the pandemic, I was still on alert, staying mostly on the side streets when alone, avoiding busy thoroughfares, only heading out for necessary errands. Even in my own neighbourhood in Vancouver’s west side, I’d cross the street upon spotting people walking toward me from a block or more away. Then I’d have to cross back again upon seeing another pedestrian on that side of the street. I’d zigzag my way to destinations as if traversing a minefield. In the grocery store, I would go through a similar dodging and weaving in the aisles.
I was less worried about catching Covid-19 than about the unpredictable reactions from white passersby. If they were wondering whether I was a possible vector for the coronavirus, I was wondering whether they were a possible vector for racism.
Read more here.
If you are a contributor and have news to share, please email us at watchyourheadclimatecrisis [at] gmail [dot] com
Purchase a copy of Watch Your Head Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House Books, 2020) here.