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.
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.
SELECTIONS FROM THIS REAL
assuming that nothing is neither created nor destroyed; that there is nothing new under the sun; that everything is ‘one,’ as Parmenides said; that the consistency we feel as ‘real,’ is, and the inconsistency that rises up as interference interruption eruption disruption of our days is not not consistency but simply the insignificant pebble flipped up by the tire from the side of the road as we swerve against the torrent;
that an individual is born into this consistency, which is the continuum of time; that time must have started somewhere; that we are edited product of this time and closed off from genesis, dulled and sagging as we are, brittle and horny, spinning and passive and overcome by all manner of natural disasters and essentially as dumb as the pebble, as mother earth wounded by ice age, mitochondria and hypochondria, polar thaws, geological faults and a sunken Atlantis;
assuming all that, I would propose that:
in these end of days, the only thing with perspective is this angel, whose wings are tangled in it, scorched by it, thrown from it, advancing backwards into our future as she does, so that she can’t warn us; until it’s too late.
as if disaster were inevitable. measure it.
assuming that it was a dark and stormy night when the world began; that it was the storm of chaos out of which mankind was formed, and assuming that
the weather wraps us in its warmth, wet blankets of summer storms; high winds and thunder eclipsing night, exciting us in their grandeur so that we take cover on the porch, or are forced inside with expletives about eaves troughs or weeping tiles, we may assume also that
there is weather that is inside us, seasonal disorders in the unstable system of corpus. the tormented tidal waves of loving badly. Oh my. the manic storms of depression or heaven’s wrath. Oh God.
we measure how our body is barometer or weathervane. riddled with nerves translating the advancing gale as migraine. vertigo in the wind. a weak heart in humid tremors. oedema of the mind, signalling the countdown to apocalypse. such nature I can’t weather anymore.
storm rising; storm landing. storm in a teapot and storm dancing. or the storm that comes through the night in your dreams: wheels of fire spinning across heaven’s blue skies. waking with the thought that the wheels  were silent.
her theory is that prayers solve everything. you think about the weather and go all dialectic on her.
the end approaches. it encroaches. it creeps up from behind. we are blown into it and say we have no choice. but after centuries of feeling it approach and pass, come and go, waiting for the dawn that comes, miraculous, we discover we are weaving the end into ourselves: the eddy of the residue of that first blast is in us.
assuming that we are as captive as the angel, we are propelled, storm first, into ourselves, and there encounter
apocalypse. a theory.
 “Only one story of a path remains, that it is” (Parmenides, fragment 8.1).
 “mire and clay” (Sefer Yetzirah 1:11).
 “chaos and void” (SY 1:11).
 “But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in [the angel’s] wings” (Benjamin, “On the Concept of History,” 395).
 “rush to his saying like a whirlwind” (SY 1:6).
 “The chayot running and returning” (Ezekiel 1:24).
 “the end is embedded in the beginning” (SY 1:1).
 “formed substance out of chaos” (SY 2:6).
This Real, Pedlar Press, 2017. Published with permission of the author.
Concetta Principe is a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, and scholarship on trauma and literature. Her recent collection, This Real (Pedlar Press 2017) was long-listed for the League of Canadian Poet’s Raymond Souster Award. Her creative non-fiction project, "Stars Need Counting: Essays on Suicide" is coming out with Gordon Hill Press in the spring of 2021. Her work has appeared in Canadian and American journals including The Malahat Review, The Capilano Review, experiment-o, and Hamilton Arts and Literature. She teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at Trent University, Durham, and York University.
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