The latest Climate Listening Project film titled “Earth-People-Words” discusses the power of our stories and histories. This film features four inspiring poets: Joy Harjo, Elizabeth Bradfield, Laura Hope-Gill and Sean Hill.
Poetry is not new to the conversation of climate or human rights. It is the vessel that always has held, and continues to hold, Earth, People, and Words in unity and balance.
Earth-People-Words features Joy Harjo, who was just named the nation’s first Native American Poet Laureate. *The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the official poet of the United States. During their term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry.* In the film, Earth-People-Words, Joy speaks about her hope that there’s not just one story allowed, or one particular kind of tribal story allowed, or one person allowed to tell the story. She says there are multiple stories, but some stories are given more authority than other stories because of the hierarchy in the system involved in those who engender power or think they have the power to say who belongs or whose story is given that kind of space. She says everybody deserves a place at the table.
In the Climate Listening Project film “Earth-People-Words”, talented storyteller Sean Hill shares how it is important to tell our stories, because the act of telling our stories does something for the teller, but also our stories are important for the record, for the history handed down. Sean Hill writes about how race is constructed, and how power plays into that. His award-winning writing is featured in his books “Dangerous Goods” and “Blood Ties & Brown Liquor”. Athens Magazine wrote that Sean Hill is “an authentic Southern voice that speaks for the African-American community and”…”his talent for telling stories from the past earn him a place among the best poets of our time.”
It was an honor to listen to Elizabeth Bradfield, who just released her new book, “Toward Antarctica”. For the past twenty-some years, Elizabeth Bradfield has worked as a naturalist and guide on ships both at home and in some of the globe’s most remote places. In the Climate Listening Project film Earth-People-Words, she speaks about how her confessional poems about identity influenced the way she sees the natural world and the science of the natural world. She says speaking through a queer lens, and from this place that she occupies in the world, is the only place she can speak from and she doesn’t want to mask that, in fact, the opposite. We all have unique perspectives and each of our stories are important.
Also featured in the film, as well as executive producer of the film, is Laura Hope-Gill. Laura Hope-Gill is a deaf poet and inspirational storyteller who was honored as the first Poet Laureate of Appalachia’s Blue Ridge Parkway. She says: Poetry holds humanity together. Poetry is not new to the conversation of climate or human rights. It is the vessel that always has held, and continues to hold, Earth, People, and Words in unity and balance. Unbreakable by the paradoxes and anomalies that other disciplines struggle to accommodate, Poetry’s archaic techniques offer thought structures holding oneness, where everyone belongs, where all life is sacred. It is not new to the conversation. It has always been the conversation. This film is not about poetry coming to us. We are now coming to poetry.
Along with stories, Earth-People-Words features four poems: “Eagle Poem” by Joy Harjo, “In the Beginning” by Sean Hill, “We All Want to See a Mammal” by Elizabeth Bradfield, and “The Soul Tree” by Laura Hope-Gill. Each poem is visualized and accompanied by watercolor art by Shannon Bodeau.
This film was directed by Dayna Reggero, edited by transgender activist and filmmaker Polly Schattel, and created in collaboration with Asheville Wordfest.
Learn more via Climate Listening Project.