Within the last few months, I’ve written work based on weather-related catastrophes for different publishers. I wrote a poem entitled “Evacuation” for a flood-themed issue of Word Fountain, a literary journal published through the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre. The editors acquired grant money to make the issue glossy and larger than past issues. All of the money will go to flood victims of Luzerene County, many of whom lost their homes in areas without the levee system during Hurricance Irene in 2011. More recently, I was notified about a project Unbound Content is doing to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. The editor of the press (which is also publishing my first full-length book of poems late this year) is seeking creative work about the Jersey Shore. The money from sales will be donated to hurricane victims.
These two projects led me to write more poems about weather-related calamities caused by global warming and the massive harm we’ve been doing to the environment. I would eventually like to put together a series of poems weather-related, including poems from the point of view of the victims, maybe even politicians. As far as I know, there haven’t been many collections like this, other than Patricia Smith’s book Blood Dazzler, all about hurricane Katrina.
I foresee this being a long, slow process, especially since I’ll have to do readings for my new book later in the year, and I’m starting Ph.D. coursework, but perhaps as part of my creative dissertation, I can take on this project and really do research, looking at photos and articles about these events to generate ideas for other poems.
If you’re in the area, you should come to the Word Fountain premiere taking place this Saturday from 2-4 p.m at the Osterhout Library. Contributors to the flood-themed issue will read their work, and copies of the journal will be on sale.