About

Poets for Living Waters is a poetry forum begun in 2010 as a response to the Gulf Oil Disaster of April 20, 2010, one of the most profound man-made ecological catastrophes in history. The initial project included hundreds of poetry and poetics publications, and a series of international reading events. You can read more about the initial endeavor in “Poets Acts on Oil Spill” by Shell Fischer at the Poets & Writers website.

While devastating, we recognize that the extreme event of the Gulf Oil Disaster may be best understood as merely a partial manifestation of a widespread consciousness producing global ecological crisis. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that in response to the contemporary situation, we refrain from appeals to effective argument but rather stir affective compassion: “We should not talk in terms of what they should do, what they should not do, for the sake of the future. We should talk to them in such a way that touches their hearts…” Poets for Living Waters contributes to this latter conversation, motivated by the belief that poetry helps release us from moral platitudes, returns us to our bodies, returns us to our senses.

If you would like to submit work for consideration, please send 1-3 poems, a brief statement of ecopoetics, and a short bio to poetsforlivingwaters@yahoo.com.

Editors: Wendy Babiak, Amy King, and Heidi Lynn Staples

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Wendy Babiak is the author of Conspiracy of Leaves (Plain View Press). Her poems have appeared recently in Poems Against WarTampa ReviewNo Tell MotelFree InquiryBig Bridge and Poets for Living Waters. For more information, please visit http://wbabiak.wordpress.com/

Amy King is the author of four collections of poetry: Slaves to Do These Things, I’m the Man Who Loves You, and Antidotes for an Alibi (a Lambda Book Award finalist), all from Blazevox Books. Of her most recent book from Litmus Press, I Want to Make You Safe, John Ashbery described Amy King’s poems as bringing “abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living.” Safe was one of the Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2011. King teaches English & Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College, works with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and moderates the Poetics List (SUNY-Buffalo/University of Pennsylvania), the Women’s Poetry Listserv (WOMPO) and the Goodreads Poetry! Group. For more information, please visit http://amyking.org/

Heidi Lynn Staples is the author of three published poetry collections, Guess Can Gallop (New Issues, 2004) and Dog Girl (Ahsahta, 2007) and  Noise Event (Ahsahta, 2013).  Her poems are included or forthcoming in numerous journals including Best American Poetry 2004, Caketrain, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, Ploughshares, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and elsewhere.  She is an Assistant Professor of English at Piedmont College in Georgia. For more information, please visit www.heidilynnstaples.com.

19 thoughts on “About

  1. Thank you so much for your visionary act to create this space for poets who care
    to open up about this ecological disaster and pollution of an edenic area of the earth.
    I am from Canada but this disaster affects us all (as you pointed out everything and everyne
    connects.) I hope to send poems asap that will voice my own individual grief at this manmade
    catastrophe.

  2. In a string of synchronicity, I was noting that the most accurate and relevant accounting of this disaster was coming from poets and comics (and not the corporate disinfomercial complex). Then I discovered Poets for Living Waters and the earlier thought was validated. For your acts of creation resulting in this space, thank you.

  3. Thank you so much. What you are doing is really wonderful. Although I live very far from the States, I perceive the BP Gulf oil disaster as a personal tragedy. I have submitted my poem and hope to hear from you soon.

  4. What is a ‘poetry action’? Or a ‘reading action’?

    In coining these neologisms, let us not confuse ourselves about the nature of the distinction between responding to a crisis and failing to respond to a crisis.

    • Thanks for your comments John.

      The phrases ‘reading action’ and a ‘poetry action’ have been specifically created to point our awareness toward the fact that self expression, listening, and distributing ideas are all indeed actions. One typically may not think of them as such because they are quite miniature in scale. A ‘poetry action’ is profoundly nonheroic. By asserting ‘reading actions’ and ‘poetry actions’ we are enacting a value-system of the nonheroic and promoting one acknowledging the systemic and relational.

      A poem is more like a plankton than like a vigilante. Whoever thinks of plankton as particularly active? But did you know that within the plankton are the seeds of the clouds?

      Poets are cultivating new climates for change.

      Thanks again.

      All best, Heidi

  5. A friend pointed me here this morning, and I am so impressed — and grateful — for your activism and your recognition of the place the arts can hold in those efforts. Shelley said that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. We do have impact, and we must write to the crises of the moment. It’s our job.

  6. I express my sense of gratitude for your noble cause for the entire mankind. Poetry is the purest form of democratic expression and it can usher in a sky change in our attitude. Your endeavor in this direction is worth praising. I remain grateful to you for accepting my Poem “Aspiring Green” to be a part of your mission.

    Regards
    P K Padhy, Ph.D
    India

    • Editors,
      Could you please direct me to a current email for Gwyn McVay not on facebook or twitter.

      Your site here makes the daily difference for me between hope and despair over the catastrophe in the Gulf and the general degradation of our universe.

      I think you touched off a poem fest here.

      Thank you

  7. Like your “poets for a purpose” theme.
    Especially, the flowing theme of water.
    Water is an entity deeply embraced by my spirit.
    Through water we are all connected with each other and the universe.
    Blessings love light,
    William Waterway

  8. Hey Heidi,
    So I wrote a poem the other day just for this website. I’m still editing it, but i just wanted to let you know that I really respect this idea. I feel like this website really allows people to be heard.

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