Ninety-one writers with connections to these islands grapple with the biggest issue facing people and the planet.
What, then, for the work of poetry? It’s at the very periphery of popular speech, niche even among the arts, yet it’s also rooted in the most ancient traditions of oral storytelling, no matter where your ancestors originate from. And, as we were reminded by an audience member at the New Zealand Young Writers Festival in 2020, who are we to say poetry cannot change the world?
A poem may not be a binding policy or strategic investment, but poems can still raise movements, and be moving in their own right. And there is no movement in our behaviours and politics without a shift in hearts and minds. Whether the poems you read here are cloaked in ironic apathy or bare their hearts in rousing calls to action, they all arise from a deep sense of care for this living world and the people in it.
Our poets are eulogists and visionaries, warriors and worriers. Most of all, they’re ordinary people prepared to sit and stare at a blank page, trying to do something with the bloody big troubles looming over our past, present and future.
— from the introduction by the editors