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.
ALIENATION (THE TRANSFERRING OF TITLE OR OF INTEREST)
Accounts were ignition sources
from within their own perimeter,
but in recent months, climate
without change reduced
the spread of public attention
A media agent increased persistence
but there were no linkages
between abatement and refugia
and park status dropped
below natural levels
The lawsuit may have referred to
the next largest remnant, properties
sorted by size, scattered matrices,
the formation of a complex
as well as the countless gaps
Criterion A: The wood turtle
taken on a voluntary basis
Criterion B: The two-lined salamander
plotted as two single bars
Text created from the following article: Anand M., Leithead, M., Silva, L., Wagner, C., Ashiq, M, Cecile, J., Drobyshev, I., Bergeron, Y., Das, A. and Bulger, C. (2013) The scientific value of the largest remaining old-growth red pine forests in North America. Biodiversity Conservation 22(8): 1847-1861
"Alienation (The Transferring of Title or of Interest)" from A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes. Copyright © 2015 by Madhur Anand.
Reprinted by permission from McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House Canada.
Previously published on Lemon Hound.
Madhur Anand, a poet and a professor of ecology and environmental sciences at the University of Guelph, where she mixes poetic and scientific approaches to articulating current and impending crises
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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