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Poems, correspondence, essays, and reportage on how we perceive and write about climate change

Climate, climate change
March 30, 2023

“Climate change needs a slower burn of attentiveness, a willingness to sit down with discomfort that doesn’t fit too neatly into narrative plots, a returning again and again to contemplation,” writes Min Hyoung Song in his 2022 book of literary criticism, Climate Lyricism. In the book, Song shows that to pay attention to climate change also requires contending with “the legacies of conquest, racism, exploitation, and extraction that are everywhere.” He notes, “The phenomenon of climate change does not exist in isolation from these histories but is very much an inextricable product of them.”

Inspired by Song, The Margins invited Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander writers to contribute work for a notebook loosely themed on climate. We asked for pieces not so much about climate itself, but about how we perceive, write, and talk about climate and the environment. The resulting collection of poems, personal essays, craft essays, speeches, reportage, and letters offers many ways of reckoning with our dialogue around climate change. Each piece is accompanied by artwork by Katrina Bello, whose intricate, precise drawings of natural textures and shapes resonate with the questions of scale that drive this notebook. 

Read the full list of pieces below.

Pieces from top to bottom, left to right:

  1. Climate: Editor’s Note
  2. A Migratory Imagination” by Min Hyoung Song and Jennifer Chang
  3. In Search of Evanescence” by Agha Shahid Ali
  4. five virgins and the magnolia tree” by Shreela Ray
  5. 台風のおばあさん | The Old Woman and The Typhoon” by Masatsugu Ono, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter
  6. Two Poems by Craig Santos Perez
  7. Recycling Poetry in a Time of Climate Change” by Craig Santos Perez
  8. My Mother’s Bamboo Bracelets” by Julian Aguon
  9. Into the Animal Body” by Talia Lakshmi Kolluri
  10. Bearing Witness to a Sinking City” by Astha Rajvanshi
  11. from Pastoral” by Luisa A. Igloria
  12. Five Poems by Laurel Nakanishi
  13. Wind/ode” by Philip Metres
  14. The Long Argument Over Gravity” by JinJin Xu
  15. Love Letter to the Eve of the End of the World” by George Abraham
  16. Orihen | Origin” by M. J. Cagumbay Tumamac, translated by Kristine Ong Muslim
  17. About the Art: Climate