No Other Place to Stand: An Anthology of Climate Change Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand
Jordan Hamel, Rebecca Hawkes, Erik Kennedy and Essa Ranapiri
Ninety-one writers with connections to these islands grapple with the biggest issue facing people and the planet.
What, then, for the work of poetry? It’s at the very periphery of popular speech, niche even among the arts, yet it’s also rooted in the most ancient traditions of oral storytelling, no matter where your ancestors originate from. And, as we were reminded by an audience member at the New Zealand Young Writers Festival in 2020, who are we to say poetry cannot change the world?
A poem may not be a binding policy or strategic investment, but poems can still raise movements, and be moving in their own right. And there is no movement in our behaviours and politics without a shift in hearts and minds. Whether the poems you read here are cloaked in ironic apathy or bare their hearts in rousing calls to action, they all arise from a deep sense of care for this living world and the people in it.
Our poets are eulogists and visionaries, warriors and worriers. Most of all, they’re ordinary people prepared to sit and stare at a blank page, trying to do something with the bloody big troubles looming over our past, present and future.
— from the introduction by the editors
Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based poet and performer. He was the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam champion. He uses poetry and performance to create awareness and discourse about environmental and political issues. He is the co-editor of Stasis Journal and his debut poetry collection Everyone is everyone except you was published by Dead Bird Books in 2022.
Rebecca Hawkes is a poet/painter from Canterbury, living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Her chapbook ‘Softcore coldsores’ was published in AUP New Poets 5 in 2019. Her first full-length poetry collection, Meat Lovers, was recently unleashed by Auckland University Press. Rebecca edits Sweet Mammalian and is a founding member of popstar poets’ posse Show Ponies.
Erik Kennedy is the author of Another Beautiful Day Indoors (Te Herenga Waka University Press, 2022) and There’s No Place Like the Internet in Springtime (Victoria University Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for best book of poems at the 2019 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. He lives in Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Essa Ranapiri (Ngāti Wehi Wehi / Ngāti Takatāpui / Clan Gunn) is a poet from Kirikiriroa. They are part of puku.riri, a local writing group. Their book ransack was published by Victoria University Press in 2019. Give the land back. It’s the only way to fix this mess. They will write until they’re dead. And after that, sing.
In the decades to come, when my grandchildren ask, ‘So what did you do when you knew?’ I want to be able to say, ‘As much as I could as soon as I could.’ Yes, I should have known sooner. Yes, I should have done more sooner. But the time for denial, delay, objection and obfuscation is past. No longer can we do as little as we can get away with. We need to aspire to do as much as we should. Poetry and these poems can inspire that action. Ināia tonu nei – the time is now. — from the afterword by Dr Rod Carr, Chair, He Pou a Rangi/Climate Change Commission
' . . . going through these verses has really given me an insight into how a wide cross section of creative, deep thinkers from Aotearoa and the Pacific are dealing with this, or not dealing with this looming reality, and that’s quite instructional.' — Phil Vine for RNZ
'The book works as a survey of how a broad spectrum of poets and writers, many of them young, are approaching climate change; it’s a range that is fascinating, thought-provoking, and even, sometimes, humorous, believe it or not.' — Laura Williamson for 1964
Craig Santos Perez
Nadine Anne Hura
Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna‘I
Anne-Marie Te Whiu
Te Kahu Rolleston
Selina Tusitala Marsh
Rebecca Tobo Olul-Hossen
Nina Mingya Powles
Ash Davida Jane
E Wen Wong