Contributions of poems about nature, species, disasters, environmental justice, and our interrelations with these are now welcome in an anthology of Philippine eco-poetry entitled “Sustaining the Archipelago.”
The importance of compiling our experiences with our ecosystem is evident in what we see around us: our country is one of the 17 megadiverse nations in the world and as such, we live in extreme biodiversity. We are even called, to quote from the 1997 publication entitled “Megadiversity,” one of the earth’s “biologically wealthiest nations.” Yet, those labels are in sharp contrast to our reality of being a “Third World” nation. Using the terminology “megadiversity” to describe any country is appealing, yet it also opens an onslaught of problems which even the Areas of Biodiversity Importance recognize: they say that the nations who are biologically richest are also the nations whose ecosystems are under severe threat. The 2014 Environmental Policy Index confirms this, since the Philippines only ranks 114 out of the 178 environmentally-healthy nations. For one such megadiverse nation, this is an alarming discrepant and an indicator of misaligned values, policies, beliefs, practices, and an overall issue with the utilization of natural resources. It is in the ruthless destruction and degradation of our archipelago that the ecological consciousness of society must be permeated by any means possible – especially through poetry.
What is Ecopoetry?
Ecopoetry has been defined as a poem which investigates both thematically and formally the relationship among language, nature, culture, and human perception of these. It is also widely accepted as a poem which offers a view of the world; an understanding of the nonhuman environment; joy and experimentation with and among nature; and most importantly, an acknowledgment of the responsibility affiliated with writing about the environment. Thus, an ecopoem must not only show the relationship among local language, nature, culture, and human perception, but also investigate the possibilities of offering a view of the environment, an interrelationship with and among species, and the writer’s burden of responsibility in transcribing the natural.
The Future of Ecopoetry in Sustaining the Archipelago
This project of compiling ecopoems which speak of our ecological interrelationship is to hopefully prove that there is power in language – a power which can effectively show the picture of our lives to awaken our senses, connect us with ourselves and others, and lead us to think in radical ways.
There is a possibility that if we acknowledge the poetic beauty, its force, and capacity to reach out to all of us, we may be given the chance to recognize our responsibilities in maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystem. In turn, it will allow us to lighten our footprints in our archipelago and in the world. And because poetry speaks personally, its message is delivered quickly, clearly, emotionally, effectively. This anthology may broaden the possibilities of coming up with sustainable solutions to the ongoing environmental crises - a clear and practical way for Filipino writers and their literariness to contribute to the fight against climate change.
Please email your original and published or unpublished ecopoems to the editor, Rina Garcia Chua (firstname.lastname@example.org), with the subject heading: Sustaining the Archipelago Submission.
You may send multiple poems or a collection of poems, but it may not exceed more than 10 pages and must be in a Microsoft Word Document file (.doc or .docx). Ecopoems in Filipino and other languages are more than welcome and must be accompanied by an English translation. If your ecopoem has been published elsewhere, please include a bibliography entry of its previous publication at the end of the poem. If it has been simultaneously accepted in another publication, please notify the editor immediately.
Also, follow the filename of your document file/submission as such: lastnamefirstname_titleofcollection titleofpoem.docx (e.g. RotorAbercio_PoemsinTranquility.doc). You can email your essay as a file attachment and include a brief bio-note of 100 to 200 words, institutional affiliation, contact number/s, and email address.
The deadline for submission is on May 15, 2015.
There are a number of confirmed contributors, as well as a foreword from Dr. Greg Garrard, the author of the books Ecocriticism (The New Critical Idiom) and The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. There are also international and local publishers who have shown interest in the anthology. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the editor via the given email address.
[ artwork by Marianne Amor Romina Abuan, poster by Jose Avelino Vergara, info and image lifted from this site ]