Poetry against the pipelines
Visit Pages Two through Four for a sample of Stephen Collis' striking poetry that chronicles a country's struggle against tar sands expansion.
If the goal is to reach as many people as possible, poetry is not the best choice. But if the goal is to think and feel your way through a complex issue, poetry might be the way to do that. It is excellent at holding contradictions together — like our dependency on modern technological conveniences and at the same time a desire for a more sustainable, and ultimately more just world.
I have not exactly written the poetic equivalent of the rallying cry to “Stop Kinder Morgan!” I’ve written about the complex tangle we have made in a world dependent upon an energy source we increasingly recognize is killing us (and most other species), but which we cannot yet release ourselves from.
I’ve written about the desire for change in a world that is already rapidly changing — in ways that alarm us, or at least should alarm us.
Here is the concluding poem in Once in Blockadia. The book is in four sections, and I needed something to tie the four together as a sort of “coda.” This is actually one of the most personal poems in the book, condensing some of the drama, I suppose.
But it opens out again to the energies a community was collectively experiencing on the mountain a short time ago:
One Against Another
Sometimes it is a poem But often it is not
Everyone I had known And everyone I had not
Watched the televised Dream I was dreaming