The Anthropocene Hymnal: Call for Submissions!

I had just finished reading How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything and I was on the verge of despair. We are in the midst of a climate emergency, and our carbon emissions keep increasing. We have seen widespread wildfires, extreme weather all over the world, droughts and flooding on a global scale. Alongside this we have the parallel crisis of biodiversity loss. We seem to be accelerating our progress towards our own extinction.

I talked to a climate-concerned friend who told me that in spite of all these dire warning signs, it is important not to give up hope. How true that is! I have children, and I decided to have them even though I knew the planet was in trouble. I still believe in their future. What I didn’t realise at the time I decided to start a family was the advanced state of the crisis. Politicians are not telling us the truth. Media outlets are not telling us the truth. Nature itself is telling us the truth, and the truth is we need to act now, and act fast.

As individuals, we cannot move mountains, but we still have the responsibility to do the best that we can. And when we join together we can achieve much. In fact, it is only by joining together that we can achieve anything. With this in mind, I have decided to publish an anthology of poems on the theme of the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. The title will be The Anthropocene Hymnal.

Why ‘The Anthropocene Hymnal’?

‘Anthropocene’ is a relatively new term (my spell-check doesn’t even recognise it.) It was coined by scientists Eugene F. Stoermer and Paul J. Crutzen, the latter of whom popularised the term in the 1970s:

“I was at a conference where someone said something about the Holocene. I suddenly thought this was wrong. The world has changed too much. So I said: ‘No, we are in the Anthropocene.’ I just made up the word on the spur of the moment. Everyone was shocked. But it seems to have stuck.” (source: Wikipedia)

The term describes the current geological era, in which humankind is making dramatic global changes to the climate and its biological make up, which will show up in the fossil record. It has not been adopted officially, but if we don’t get a move on we could have brought this Antrhopocene Age to an end before we decide to do anything about it.

I want the book to be a ‘hymnal,’ a collection of poems or songs examining the current crisis and our role within it. When we join our voices in song, a lone voice becomes a chorus, our voices are amplified, and there is a greater chance our voices will be heard.

If you wish to submit, write a poem on any aspect of the climate crisis about which you feel strongly: biodiversity loss, loss of a particular species, the expansion of oil extraction or deforestation, it is up to you. Write a story you want the world to hear. I will consider any form of verse: what is most important is that you write your truth for others to hear.

I am sharing this post with Earthweal because it was this forum which gave me the idea of creating such an anthology in the first place. Credit where credit is due to Brendan at Oran’s Well for creating the forum and encouraging us to raise our voices in protest. I would be interested in including some of the poetry shared with Earthweal in the anthology, and would be delighted if individual Earthweal poets would contact me via email to discuss this. I will of course give credit to Earthweal in the anthology for sparking the idea which spawned its inception.

Submission Guidlines

  • Submissions by email to experimentsinfiction@protonmail.com
  • Subject line of the email should be ‘Anthropocene Hymnal Submission’
  • I will be accepting submissions of poetry on the theme of the anthology as detailed in this post. I will consider previously published work provided it fits the theme. If the poem has been published previously, please give details.
  • Copyright will remain with the author.
  • Work may be submitted as word document, PDF, or in the body of the email text.
  • Deadline for submissions is 31/03/21.

All royalties from sales will be donated to charities committed to fighting the climate and/or biodiversity crisis. I am currently exploring which would be the best charities to support, to have the biggest impact, and would welcome your suggestions.

I look forward to receiving your submissions!
Ingrid

75 thoughts on “The Anthropocene Hymnal: Call for Submissions!

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  1. A important universal topic Ingrid, and I am an actual member of the ‘Extinction Rebellion Group’ here in Geelong ..although not very active these days…and I have written many a poem about human’s disdain for the livelihood of the own environment (“People Ain’t No Good”)…..And I wrote this little piece years ago …

    Its Time

    We’ll miss you,
    Mother Earth.
    Your splendour,
    And imposing style.
    From forest canopy’s,
    To the desert Nile.
    New creations,
    Beauty, gone.

    We’ll lose you,
    Father Time.
    Your rhythm,
    And stoic guile.
    From ancient history,
    To the future files.
    New millennia,
    Awaiting, gone.

    But I have one that nearly made my ‘Book’ and which I really like, called “Silent Sky”…. I shall email it to you …

    1. Thank you, Ivor: I am pleased you feel as passionate about this subject as I do! I love this poem and it sends just the right kind of message. Please send me both in your email so I can keep track of submissions, if you don’t mind 🙏😊🌈 🌏

      1. Work and commitment is a writers life Ingrid … sitting on the fence doesn’t get the job done, all we get then is splinters in the bum…

  2. Ingrid, this idea is amazing. I would definitely love to submit to this. I should write something new, especially if it’s about climate change. 😁 In the morning, I will reblog this; this is wonderful and it needs to be shared. ❤️❤️

  3. Fantastic, Ingrid. Wonderful news. I will email you. Here in Tofino we are putting out an anthology of tree poems, so your anthology is timely. I will submit to both. Hope you get lots of submissions.

  4. This is a great idea and a worthy cause. I know there are so many things that cause damage to our planet and it can be overwhelming when trying to take it all on ourselves. I believe we need to come together to make an impact as well. Even though controversial, I wrote a poem about chemtrails contributing to the wildfires in California a while back. Even if you believe it’s only contrails, scientists agree that it causes climate change in this article https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-airplane-contrails-are-helping-make-the-planet-warmer

    However, I am very suspect that geoengineering has been going on for quite a while. I wrote this poem if you are interested: https://milspouseprose.com/2020/09/21/seven-showers-a-day-a-chemtrail-poem-2/

    But I will try to write something new as well as there are many contributing factors to climate change. 💕

      1. I’ve started already but it will take a while to compIete and polish. Would you prefer I didn’t publish it on my blog?

      2. It’s up to you really, I will be using some poems I have already published here because they fit the theme well. I will try to write something new as well! I look forward to receiving you poem 😊

      3. Thanks. I looked at some of my older poems but they didn’t seem to fit your theme. Hopefully the one I’m writing now will work. I might publish it on my blog too then.

  5. I think my other comment disappeared! This is a great idea and I have a few older poems concerning climate change, but I think I will try to write something new over the next few weeks. I still can’t believe Texas froze over this past month! I lived in Arlington, TX for a while and have family and friends there with enormous electric bills now. My poor aunt is without water after having to turn off the water after a pipe burst. I am worried about where we are headed.

  6. Great idea Ingrid, vital one too for you as an emerging poet and for the community of voices you represent. (Ergo, “Hymnal” is apt.) I put together a collection on the climate change in the local life of a poet in 2019, “The Beached Wings of Heaven” and submitted it for publication; it was never accepted but the work for me was still essential. Naming, claiming, grieving the Anthropocene. You seem to have a big community and you should see success. Happy to contribute. – Brendan

    1. Absolutely we have a job to do. I would really welcome your contribution, thank you so much Brendan, for starting this forum and making me think more deeply about these issues 🙏

  7. Oh this was a fascinating read, I didn’t know that term even though I try to keep up with the news that’s related to climate change and sustainable development. Thanks for starting this, Ingrid and people at Earthweal. I will be sending you the email shortly, I have a poem which I also recited at a college event related to sustainability.

    Should I send the poem while it’s posted at my blog or do I have to take it down before sending it to you?

    1. I think this term should be used more widely as it really reflects the amount of damage we are doing, and also the fact that we have immense power to do good, if we choose to. You can send me a link to the post but please send it via email as I am keeping track of all the submissions there. Many thanks!

  8. Ingrid,
    What a fabulous idea. I am in alignment with your concerns and support your project. Poetry can open doors that facts alone don’t seem to be able to. Let me know how I can support you as you move forward.
    Ali

    1. Thank you so much Ali! If you would like to submit a poem, that would be great. Also if you have any prior knowledge of publishing and marketing a book that would be useful!

  9. Although I want to be proven wrong and to not give up hope, we, collective humankind, are essentially distracting ourselves from our own burning and heavily polluting of our sole spaceship, Earth.

    To me, our existence has for too long been analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable traditionally marginalized person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much should they have to pay for it—all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (alongside the most wealthy) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated.

    The latter is allowed to occur, because blue-shirted liberals and red-hatted conservatives are preoccupied loudly blasting each other for their politics and beliefs thus distracting attention from big business’s moral and ethical corruption, where it should be focused.

    Meanwhile, mindless arguments are made, and stupid-sounding catchphrases are uttered, like “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    What is sufficiently universal, however, is that the laborers are simply too exhausted and preoccupied with just barely feeding and housing their families on a substandard, if not below the poverty line, income to criticize the former for the great damage it’s doing to our planet’s natural environment and therefore our health, particularly when that damage may not be immediately observable.

    1. I agree that we are fighting the wrong battles against a false enemy. It strikes me as a case of ‘divide and conquer’ by the economic elite. I just wonder how they plan to survive on an uninhabitable planet.

      1. Precisely.
        Also, there comes a point at which the immoral/unethical corp-ocratic misconduct, including dividing and conquering the general populace simply to maintain their (often huge) profit interests, can end up hurting the business itself: Every business needs consumers — and usually not just very wealthy consumers.

        When it comes to behaving humanely, I see corporate CEOs (figuratively) shrugging their shoulders and defensively saying that their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. Meanwhile, the shareholders also shrug their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.

        Perhaps the profit objective of a CEO’s job-description nature is somehow irresistible to him or her?

        It brings to mind the allegorical fox stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.

  10. “Media outlets are not telling us the truth.” …
    _____

    In an interview by the online National Observer with renowned American author and linguistic/cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky, in which he noted worrisome inconsistencies by what are often perceived as “the liberal media”:
    Although there are stories published about manmade global warming, “it’s as if … there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying ‘look, this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular [non-environmental pro-fossil fuel] coverage simply disregards it.”

    Then there was the unsigned editorial that a local community newspaper, The Surrey Now-Leader, printed just before Earth Day 2017, titled “Earth Day in need of a facelift”.
    Varied lengths of the same editorial were also printed in other B.C. community newspapers owned by news-media-mogul (and aspiring oil-refiner) David Black.
    It opined that “some people would argue that [the day of environmental action] … is an anachronism”, that it should instead be a day of recognizing what we’ve societally accomplished. “And while it [has] served us well, in 2017, do we really need Earth Day anymore?”

    Though in my lifetime I’ve never heard anyone suggest we’re doing so well as to render Earth Day an unneeded “anachronism”, considering the sorry state of the planet’s natural environment, it was the most irresponsible form of editorial journalism I’ve yet seen in my 32 years of newspaper consumption.

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