Because Covid-19 stranded so many of our invited poets in their respective homes/countries, we had to make a few adjustments. In fact, we were making adjustments right up until the weekend before the first poets arrived. Our in-house poets are down to three: students coming to us from Berlin out of The Poetry Project ( Ali, Robina, Shabnam and I have been learning from each other as well as the poets who zoom in to talk to us and share poetry.

As of Wednesday night, the Word to Action crew had already shared so much wisdom and great poetry that we got together to share our take-aways.  Here are some of our favorite quotes from our zoomed-in guests:

Will McInerney, our poet and journalist friend at Cambridge said, “poetry creates a safe space to illuminate problems.” 

And, when it comes to problems like climate change, Oliver Miltenberger, our climatologist-poet friend in the US, told us that “we will never understand the magnitude of what we are losing.”  

Next, we spoke with Dr. Craig Santos Perez from the University of Hawaii, who gave us some perspective on writing to affect change, “poems help heal us individually, are shaped into art to share with the world to help readers cope too.” 

Our caring poet-friend from Washington State, Kelli Russell Agodon told us about how she, “take(s) what scares (her) & makes (her) feel powerless and put(s) it into poetry to put into the world.” 

Then, finally, yesterday in a very generous one-and-three-quarters of an hour zoom call, the presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco compared our topic of writing with love when he said, “when it comes to climate change, it is like a nation of the mind, without borders.” 

We are still writing on the inspiration from these remarkable poets. We look forward to our next calls with Enda Wyley of Dublin, Ireland and Tess Barry of Pittsburgh, PA. We’ll share their nuggets of poetry wisdom in a later blog that will have to come after the performance because we’ll be so busy preparing our poems!

See you there at 11:30 on Sunday, 18 October at Literaturhaus Liechtenstein!