Sunday, November 8, 2009

Workshop: 350

Did you know about 350? If you're an NPR junkie like me, you may have heard about this environmental organization which brought crowds from all over the world together on October 24th in support of cutting carbon emissions. The organization takes its name from Bill McKibben's groundbreaking book on climate change. Why 350? Find out here.

In support of the group's efforts, 350 Poems invited 350 poets to write pieces on global warming and environmental issues. Each piece could only be three and a half lines long. The resulting pieces are sometimes eerie, sometimes funny, sometimes moving. The project is a fascinating, eglatarian mix of well-known and lesser-known poets, high and low language, metaphor and overt naming. In short, just what you could hope for from a group of environmentally conscious poets.

While the day of advocacy has passed, I think this form lends itself well to the subject of environment and climate change. It leaves little room for didactic statement, forcing instead a distillation of emotion, imagery, and call-to-action in a neat little package. So I'm calling on you to write your own short, soul-punching pieces. Try to stick to the three and a half line limit, and see what happens.

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