Ten poems, read by 14 young poets, dazzled the packed Perspektiven Raum with brilliance and bravery. 14-year-old Grela Rabi’s as yet untitled poem that begins, “am boden kleben sie fest,“ was selected by our panel of three judges to win the 500 CHF gift certificate to Wenaweser Fahrradcentrum in Schaan. Congratulations Grela! The 500 CHF donation to the climate-themed charity of their choice, was split between the classes from ISR and Liechtenstein Gymnasium. The ISR classes chose to donate to “the bees in Liechtenstein” (https://www.ackerschaft.li). All participants received a book of poetry (from previous Word to Action participants) and a potted plant to take home. Class teachers received books on composing poetry. 

Our amazing judges, Julia VanSteyn, Hansjörg Qauderer and Christiane Meyer-Stoll, asked questions of the poets and the decision was difficult. We used the Word to Action model of ranking the poems with emojis, each judge received 12 emojis: 4 hearts (for I was moved), 4 tear drops (for I was saddened) and 4 flames (I was inspired to take action). In the end, it was very close and after the judges distributed their extra emojis, the poems with the most flames won. Here was the line-up:

A Superhero’s Lament | Alina Meier

HELP!  |  ISR Grade 1-2, 2022

The Ones Who Hold the Blame |  Leni Gillner

A Planet’s Lament |  ISR Grade 4-5, 2023

Untitled, Liechtenstein Gymnasium 4WS

Menschen haben es nicht geschafft die Welt zu respektieren, und alles wird trotzdem Gut!  | Michelle Meier

Bedeckt | Lukas Wille

If  |  Liechtenstein Gymnasium 4AS

Untitled   | Oleksandra Hnatiuk

My reflection is this: the poems were moving in different ways. It was interesting to see that the poems were different based on age group. The youngest were sad but optimistic about the future and used fantastical imagery to get the point across. Some were totally realistic about the trouble the planet is in. And the rest were a bit alarmed and made a call to action. This last category seemed to move the judges the most. At Word to Action we know that poetry physically changes those who hear it; it can move us to take action.

We are very grateful to all of the folks at Ich, die Zukunft who helped organize, advertise, set up and provide beverages at the SDG Tower installation in Schaan. The space was perfect for the occasion because, as I said in the beginning, highlighting SDG 13 is a powerful starting point, since all 17 SDGs have a thread running through SDG 13: Climate Action. We hope to return to the tower when it is relocated to Dux in Schaan. Would you come to a poetry reading again? 

Look forward to seeing all of the Word to Action poems since 2020 in an upcoming anthology, Eden is a Backyard: new climate poetry from Word to Action.

Write to wordtoaction2020@gmail.com for a private link to a recording of the contest.