Watch Your Head
Coach House Books, 2020
A warning, a movement, a collection borne of protest.
In Watch Your Head, poems, stories, essays, and artwork sound the alarm on the present and future consequences of the climate emergency. Ice caps are melting, wildfires are raging, and species extinction is accelerating. Dire predictions about the climate emergency from scientists, Indigenous land and water defenders, and striking school children have mostly been ignored by the very institutions – government, education, industry, and media – with the power to do something about it.
Writers and artists confront colonization, racism, and the social inequalities that are endemic to the climate crisis. Here the imagination amplifies and humanizes the science. These works are impassioned, desperate, hopeful, healing, transformative, and radical.
This is a call to climate-justice action.
Cover design by Ingrid Paulson
...Watch Your Head does not disappoint. It serves as a warning to heed, a reminder to be thought of often, and a well-thought-out piece of art. Throughout the anthology, readers encounter pieces that provoke and insist, demanding attention, consideration, action, and creativity. Essays and stories and images alike bring about questions and statements on Indigenous rights, white privilege, exploitation of land and people, colonial power structures, place, home, language, and imagination.
This anthology is not to be missed. The pandemic may have defined our year, but the climate crisis defines our time in geological history. See how this roster of talented writers and artists advance the conversation, put the crisis in context and call for climate justice.
WATCHING THE DULL EDGES (THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OF A 23°27′ TILT)
Watching Dull Edges (the northern hemisphere of a 23°27′ tilt) is a series of photographs documenting the act of sitting in Canada during the winter of 2017 carefully watching the last snowfall of the year melting inside a test tube. It is a meditation on what it means to be living through the end of planetary regularities, like the seasons as we have come to know them. Winter in Canada as long months of accumulating snow fall will shortly be no more, if it isn’t already gone; this work considers what it means to live with this awareness.
Watching Dull Edges (the northern hemisphere of a 23°27′ tilt) is a work about paying attention to change, even when it arrives with slowly, or with dull edges. It is about staying still to attune oneself to a loss whose material and temporal dimensions are so vast we struggle to make sense of them. How do we stop to not just notice but truly register and mourn these losses accumulating? What practices can we enact to connect our lived experiences of the world with this urgent new reality?
Lisa Hirmer is an interdisciplinary artist who works across visual media, social practice, performance and occasionally writing. She is primarily concerned with collective relationships: that which exists between things, rather than simply within them—particularly in relation to collective beliefs and in human relations with the more-than human world. Her work finds home both in gallery contexts and an expanded field of other public spaces. It has been shown across Canada and internationally. She has received numerous grants and residencies for her work including from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Camargo Foundation.
Lisa Hirmer would like to acknowledge The Art Gallery of Ontario for project support.
First they told me
the future would solve
Then they told me
would solve the future.
The present is the world
I’m not allowed there.
They know this.
I begin a string
of letters, picketing
in the babies’ cups
are full of Roundup.
one girl chirps.
"Circles" previously appeared in Conjunctions 73.
Rae Armantrout's book Wobble (Wesleyan, 2018) was a finalist for the National Book Award. A new collection, Conjure, is forthcoming from Wesleyan in Sept. 2020. She was recently interviewed in The Paris Review's "Art of Poetry" series.
Marco Reiter is an artist whose works include photography, sculpture and installation art. His mixed-media assemblages combine photographic images with wood, metal, and discarded materials. A long-time meditation student, Marco’s work is contemplative, and explores ideas around transformation, healing, and interconnection, often relating to human relations with the natural world, and ecology. As a lifelong “maker”—he’s been a carpenter for more than 16 years—Marco embraces building as a mode of expression. His photography has been exhibited in Toronto and Kingston and featured in such publications as The New Quarterly and The Animal Game (Tightrope Books).
Sarah Mangle's work is peopled with beautifully flawed characters. Her work is concerned with growth, feelings, shaky lines and truth-telling. Sarah is white and queer and grew up in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. Sarah Mangle’s bookworks, postcards and zines are sold internationally. Her large format felt works have been exhibited locally in Montreal, where she has resided on and off since 2000. Sarah Mangle's work has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Hello Giggles, Shameless Magazine, Art/iculations, The Montreal Review of Books, Nat Brut and Broken Pencil. Sarah Mangle is currently working on a comic about the lesbian-owned import export store in her small hometown and her teenage attempt to be hired there. It is set to be published in an anthology with Conundrum Press in 2020. She curates a comic and zine distro at Depanneur Le Pick Up and makes ongoing comic work about the benign cyst in her brain.
Social Media Things:
Instagram + Facebook: @sarahmangle
HALFLING BEAR (ECLIPSE)
the trophy hunter has it
the scientists & the media
celebrate, debate, discuss
photos of the corpse fly
all around the world
& linger for years
the miracle of courtship
alignment sought & found
the passing of a honeymoon
the wonder of apparent difference
transcended with pleasure
the private rendezvous of
polar bear & grizzly, followed
by months of solitary gestation
of nurturing, nursing
teaching the young
all the years of a young bear’s life
discoveries, missteps, accomplishments
the cultural patterning inhabited, as
taught by the mother
& the world met, step by step
into bloodlust & big money
dna proofs & a too small sample
the death of a halfling bear reveals
the minds of scientific observers
& all forms of prejudice: miscegenation
still, so scandalous
this is not a freakshow
but evidence of life unfolding
& showing its shape as it goes
the elders say, usually they fight
but not this time
"halfling bear(eclipse)" originally published in Halfling Spring: an internet romance (Kegedonce Press 2013)
Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer and arts activist, originally from Manitoba, at home on the west coast. She received the Gerald Lampert Award (LCP 1992) and the Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Literary Arts (2017). She published six poetry books, a collection of short nonfiction and a children’s illustrated. Recent publications include her third poetry chapbook, Pensive & beyond (Nomados Press 2019) and the co-edited volume, Honouring the Strength of Indian Women: Plays, Stories and Poetry by Vera Manuel (U of Manitoba Press 2019). She is Poetry Mentor for The Writers Studio, SFU, and Poetry Editor for EVENT Magazine.
Watch Your Head is an online journal of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
New work is published monthly!
Check out our latest project: a print anthology published by Coach House Books!
Watch Your Head: Writers & Artists Respond to the Climate Crisis
Coach House Books
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