Welcome to Turtle Island Responds, an online library of lived experience, offered in verse.
This news related online poetry series was inspired by Rattle Magazine’s Poets Respond and the many conversations I have had with others who have found themselves on the fringes. So much of the news is offered through the lens of the those in positions of power, but we rarely hear from the communities directly affected. This is an opportunity to voice your responses to current events through the medium of poetry.
As the curator, I will use the following criteria when selecting a poem for publication:
- The strength of the submission – both the poem and the author statement. What is most important to me is that both the author statement and the poem are compelling. We are looking for work from both emerging and established poets. There may be some collaborative editing via Skype or phone, but overall, this is your piece and your response.
- The urgency – this is going to be challenging as there are so many pressing issues and news cycles are so very short these days. Since this is a news-related series, more recent news items may be given priority over older ones.
- Sharing the page – when making selections I will be asking this question: Which community have we not heard from yet? This collection is working towards uplifting and prioritizing voices that might be considered marginalized or underrepresented in our media, so priority may be given to a voice that has yet to be shared on the page and on the screen.
- No-stories-about-us-without-us – the poet must be from the community they are writing about. Since transparency is important, this information must be included in the poet’s bio and/or author statement.
- Turtle Island - The poet must have a relationship to Turtle Island, having lived there at some point in their life.
It is my hope to build a library of work, poems and the author statements that will live on as online teachings. This will be a collection of lived experience offered in verse, with supporting author statements and bios that reflect the poet’s connection to the news and their particular community. News includes local, global or things being discussed on social media. It can be good news—a community garden that is changing the lives of lower-income seniors. It can be the news that stings, that makes us want to write a response. It is my hope, that as this collection grows, it will be reflective of the rich diversity that exists on Turtle Island.
—All my Relations ~ Jónína Kirton
“My mother asks why I cry”
by Barâa Arar
by Isabella Wang
“letters to the editor”
by Gwen Benaway
by Christine Taylor
by Jude Hayes
“for my sister”
by Charlotte Henay
by Zofia Rose Musiej
“To All the White People Who Voted for Change but Not to Hurt Me”
by Fatima Amarshi