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.
PLACES TO INTERVENE IN A SYSTEM
No one kept watch, except
all of us.
We made human chains we
wrote operas we
conducted interviews and
released the data and started
smoking again, bought up everything
we could just to stop it, it didn’t
we found hope anyway
then lost the case, we
lay on our backs and
just floated. We saw 150 species a day
go extinct we
did not want to be people
we were tired of talking we
started singing we said maybe it’s
over, we delivered a formal apology to the salmon
did a controversial pregnant photoshoot
in front of a nuclear reactor, all those nice curves
we made page 15 of the New York Times, ok
and delighted in the letters to the editor that said
I was ‘going to give my baby cancer’ well exactly
then got scared and moved but it was everywhere
we went like my unstable worth rolling
oblongly on pink shadows of information
glamping among the facts. Friends came
and were astronomies. Self-deploying
flora volunteered. This morning the sun
of god shone on the chasmogamous violets
and the world continues in great detail.
What shall I do with my information
I’m an animal in an animal in an animal
I’m a poem of objects that live by magic*
I’m every idea I ever had, I’ll just stay here
as a person. I have a photographic mouth
* Anna Mendelssohn
Thinking is my fighting,
said Virginia Woolf, in the middle
Are we in the middle of war
A war with the sea
A war with the air
Who will wear what
the world wore
Lucid and wetly speaking
There’s no war you idiots
learn the language
hot pink sex
you don’t need money
Erin Robinsong is a poet and interdisciplinary artist working with ecological imagination. Her debut collection of poetry, Rag Cosmology (Book*hug), won the 2017 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and her work has been published in Lemon Hound, Vallum, The Capilano Review, Regreen: New Canadian Ecological Poetry, among others. Collaborative performance works with Hanna Sybille Müller and Andréa de Keijzer include This ritual is not an accident; Facing away from that which is coming; revolutions; and Polymorphic Microbe Bodies (forthcoming spring 2020, at Tangente). Originally from Cortes Island, Erin lives in Montréal.
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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