The planet’s climate is changing and has been changing for decades now. Fires are worsening, floods swelling, droughts widening and lives and whole ecosystems disappearing. We’re amidst a crisis unlike anything we humans have ever faced before and, with a dwindling window to face it, the stakes are high. But despite the high stakes, it seems we don’t yet know how best to communicate the crisis with language and imagination. And so the role of poets has become crucial. In this six-week, online workshop, we’ll attempt to remedy our failures in language. We’ll strive to make better sense of the catastrophe, to underline and italicize what we most wish to forget, to keep an eye on beauty, and to imagine new language, new lexicons for the kinds of transformation required of us now—individually, culturally, cross-nationally and as a species. Along the way we will:
The first four weeks of the workshop will be generative, and the final two weeks will be spent workshopping poems. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.
b ferguson is a queer Bahamian poet, essayist, educator and dreamer currently living on the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people. By the luck of friends, collaborators and institutions, their poems and essays have been published and featured in places like the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vice News and the Kenyon Review. They’re interested in engaging creative writing, literature and poetics as a form of political study and practice, and they have led such courses and workshops in NYC elementary schools, New York University and the New School. They’re currently working on a book about Hurricane Dorian, the effects of climate change on Small-Island Developing States, and how centuries of far-flung injustices—like colonization, slavery and numerous inequalities at local and global scales—have come to cause the climate crisis.