Discover more from The Watch Your Head Dispatch
September 2021 Dispatch
News, Events, Updates, Recommended Reads
Hi Watch Your Head Readers,
This is the first of our monthly newsletters where we will share work that we’ve published as well as work from our vast archive that you may have missed.
And we will also share calls for submission, Watch Your Head events, contributor news, and recommendations.
We hope to be a hub where you can find climate and climate justice writing and art, info, resources, and organizations.
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Hope you enjoy!
Watch Your Head
“Climate and Imagination” in Canadian Literature
Thanks to Paul Huebener for this in-depth review in Canadian Literature of Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis (Coach House Books, 2020)!
The problem of representing the climate crisis in literature and art is a famously vexing one, and there has been much wringing of hands about whether literary texts are capable of adequately reflecting the realities of climate change, let alone of provoking people into doing something about it. Among the most notable recent commentary on the supposed failure of literature in this regard is Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement, in which Ghosh declares that because the English tradition of literary novels has always been centred on the notion of the individual protagonist, the novel form is poorly suited to represent the large-scale problems of climate change and the Anthropocene. This failure of the dominant literary imagination, Ghosh says, “will have to be counted as an aspect of the broader imaginative and cultural failure that lies at the heart of the climate crisis” (8).
Ghosh’s complaint has turned out to be useful largely because it is so irritating; it calls out for rebuttals. One way to respond to his critique is to step around it by remembering that the novel is not the only game in town. If a key problem with climate change is that certain voices are being silenced, certain experiences disregarded, then what better way to address the issue than with an anthology comprised of works in multiple forms and genres from a strikingly diverse set of contributors? Watch Your Head: Writers and Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis takes up this challenge.
August on Watch Your Head
Four Poems for Trees by rob mclennan
2 Poems by Caleb Nichols
2 poems by Penn Kemp
From the Watch Your Head Archive
Plasticnic by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Plasticnic, 1:13 minutes
Written/Narrated by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Animation by Tisha Deb Pillai
Sound Design byTinjun Niu:
A humorous animated video poem about plastic pollution that shows how we destroy nature while seeking to enjoy ourselves in the great outdoors.
The video poem is based on a shaped poem in Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019)
Watch more here.
Only the Sun Music by Patrick Murray, Poem by Emily Schultz
Only the Sun, 2021
Music by Patrick Murray
Text by Emily Schultz
Used with permission.
Performed by: Juliana Krajcovic Renee Fajardo Sharang Sharma Graham Robinson Patrick Murray
Watch Your Head Events
See You Again Arts Festival
Watch Your Head is so very excited to be a part of the Oculus Common's SEE YOU AGAIN Arts Festival where we will present a reading curated by Sanchari Sur and a screening curated by June Pak!
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2021 @ 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Oculus Pavilion, Humber River Recreational Trail, Toronto, ON, M8Y 3N7
Register here (it’s free).
Check out all the other events at this wonderful festival!
Watch Your Head presents 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.
Reading program (duration 45 mins):
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?
Video Screening (duration 45 mins):
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.
Watch Your Head Recommends
Stay at Home Order by Jody Chan
Roxane Gay on “On disaster movies and a disastrous world” in The Audacity.
Artists and Climate Change is a wonderful site that brings together artists who produce work about climate change.
Bill McKibbens has a new climate newsletter called The Crucial Years and organizing a movement for people over 60 called Third Act: Experienced people working for a fair and stable planet.
For conversations in art about ecological collapse visit The Scales Project.
Calls for Submissions
Imagining Climates, a multidisciplinary collaborative and creative response to the climate crisis, exploring the role of imagination in understanding our world today and creating the world of tomorrow.
What’s Next for Earth? Biodiversity Art Call.
Contributor News & Updates
If you are a contributor and have climate related news, updates, or events that you’d like us to share, please email us here.
Rita Wong writes about the real emergency at Fairy Creek for The Tyee.
The poem “Ocean Acidification” blends science and poetry to explore one of the challenges a high-CO2 world poses to the ocean and the species, ecosystems, and human communities that depend on it.
Author Samantha Jones’ PhD research on carbon cycling in the Canadian Arctic inspired this work, which first appeared in WATCH YOUR HEAD (online) in March 2021 at https://www.watchyourhead.ca/.
Samantha is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
Funding partners: International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, The Ocean Foundation, MEOPAR Ocean Acidification Community of Practice
Producer: James Nikitine, Marine Communications
Write a poem, story, or play or create an artwork about the extinction of sea stars.