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Poetry in your mailbox! Hand-written art! Help move this poet / touring cyclist / storyteller from Auckland to Melbourne on a boat.
35 backers pledged $1,205 to help bring this project to life.

About

$1,205

35

update: 3/23/15

Thank you so much for supporting this project. We reached the $1000 goal! Holy guacamole. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

All additional funds at this point will be donated to the Vanuatu Red Cross. Feel free to give to their page directly: http://www.ifrc.org/en/get-involved/donate/ People in Vanuatu need this money way more than I do, esp. in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

I just wanted to get across the Tasman Sea––and now that dream is a reality! Thank you.

That said, if you would like me to write poems and send them to your mailbox, I am MORE than happy to do so. All the above rewards still stand. I will donate the money in excess of the $1000 goal directly to the Vanuatu Red Cross when this campaign ends. Stand by for that update :)

Hope this finds you well!

Keep on keepin' on.

------- 

POEMS TO GET DEVI (FLIGHT-FREE!) ACROSS THE TASMAN SEA 

Hi beautiful people! My name is Devi and I'm a poet / touring cyclist / storyteller from Boston, USA, currently traveling the world, mostly by bicycle, to collect stories from people I meet about water and climate change. 

I was recently interviewed about the project on Radio New Zealand: 

www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/nights/audio/20169299/cycling-story-collector

This solo female touring cyclist is powered by words. 

(at the top of Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand)
(at the top of Arthur's Pass, South Island, New Zealand)

THE BOAT: 

I'm raising funds to travel from Auckland, NZ to Melbourne, OZ aboard the ANL BINDAREE, a cargo ship. The passage takes six days (May 9-15, 2015) and costs US$1000. 

Why Melbourne? 

I am going to be a Writer in Residence at Montsalvat from May 17 - July 6. During this time I will begin to process the audio recordings of water / climate change stories I have been making since I began this trip in September 2014 at the People's Climate March in New York City. 

I'm also looking forward to having uninterrupted time to write poems––it can be hard to carve out long stretches of writing time when I am constantly on the road! And of course, it's always wonderful to be surrounded by a community of artists at work. Being around others is an essential part of my creative process. 

While in Melbourne, I hope to gain some sailing experience so that I can make the rest of my way around the world (when I'm not cycling over land) as crew on a sailboat. That said, the Tasman Sea is one of the roughest sections of ocean in the world, and I'm eager to ease into sailing in *slightly* calmer waters. Or maybe just with the shore in sight. Ahoy! 

THE WHY: 

I'm on a mission to collect 1001 stories from people I meet around the world about water and climate change. 

At present I have recorded 248 total in the USA, Fiji, Tuvalu, and New Zealand. (www.onebikeoneyear.wordpress.com)

Why am I doing this? 

It all comes back to a river. 

In August, 2013, I rode my bicycle 800 miles following the Mississippi River Trail from Memphis, Tennessee to Venice, Louisiana. 

Just north of Venice, on my second to last day of riding, I met a woman named Franny. When I stopped in front of her office to check the air in my bicycle tires, she invited me to get out of the afternoon sun. Over a shared plate of fried shrimp, Franny told me about 2012’s Hurricane Isaac that washed away her home and her neighborhood. 

“We fight for protection of our levees. We fight for our marsh every time we have a hurricane.”

Despite skyrocketing insurance prices and the lack of attention that state government officials afford the area, Franny stands by her hometown. She and her husband moved back to their plot of land in a mobile home just a few months after the disaster. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she confessed.

“Do you think there will come a time when people can’t live here anymore?” I asked.

“I think so. Not in my lifetime, but you’ll probably see it.” To imagine the road I had been biking on underwater was chilling. 

Twenty miles further, I could see where the ocean laps over the road at high tide.

near "The End of the World" -- Venice, Louisiana (August, 2013)
near "The End of the World" -- Venice, Louisiana (August, 2013)
water lapping at the road in Venice, Louisiana––the inspiration for this trip
water lapping at the road in Venice, Louisiana––the inspiration for this trip
              

I'm 22 years old, and I believe that water and climate change are the defining issues of my generation. 

I'm collecting stories because I believe that listening is the #1 gift I have to give to the world. Everyone has a story to tell. I want to hear it.

with storyteller Elizabeth Taylor in Rosedale, Mississippi, USA (September 2014)
with storyteller Elizabeth Taylor in Rosedale, Mississippi, USA (September 2014)

I have set myself the goal of collecting 1001 stories about water and climate change. I record audio when people are comfortable with it, and have plans to make a map on a website where you can click on a point and listen to a story someone has told me from that place. 

It's slow work, but there is nothing I would rather be doing. 

I have decided to give up flying because it is the single worst thing that I am doing for the planet. 

(to calculate your carbon footprint, visit http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/

I want to walk the talk. 

I want to set an example for future generations of climate activists. 

I want to travel slowly. 

I want to write poems and send them to your mailbox. 

And I need your help. 

----- 

POETRY SAMPLE: 

What's that? You want to know what kind of poems I write? Sweet as. Here are a few. The formatting might get a bit wonky, but that's alright:  

A Lake in New Hampshire (originally published in Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie

in memory of DD (1989 - 2013)

He went down in a moment,

flippers over head, to open

a freezer door he swore

was at the bottom of the lake.

No one saw him dive,

or we all did and later pretended

we didn’t.

The blonde (not me)

deciphered his speech bubbles

as they came to the surface.

(She makes extra cash wrestling

women in a bar basement,

calf-deep in a pool of cherry Jell-O).

She dove in after him, past the roots

of the lily pads, decaying logs––

the jelly of the mud of the earth.

She found his legs above his head,

his eyes rolled back.

This from the stem of my heart:

two days later I was mourning

at a subway station alone,

watching people. Before me

a woman was cutting off

all her hair in pieces.

No mirror. She used a pair

of orange kitchen scissors,

left each tuft in a current

of wind. Satisfied

with the general feel of it,

she stumbled into the light,

cell phone in hand, to take a selfie,

judge the result.

I will never be brave enough

to cut my own hair, to

bring scissors to the bottom of the lake.

Can I cut off your lips

to save the rest of you?

~

The Distance Between Two Points (originally published in Verse Wisconsin

I want to go to the place

where my hair is blown

into little yellow dotted lines

speckling the I-84 over

your hip bone,

jagged at the on-ramp.

Where am I going

to find you?

On the dark side of the map,

lacing my fingers behind accordion folds,

rest-stops I call my own.

I love your geography,

the way you leave pieces

of yourself on thruways:

orange peels tossed from the window––

my fingers sweetened

with now-withered rinds.

~

Sugar, Cars, and Masculinity (originally published in Clockhouse

The muscle,

Lord, the muscle.

Weave me a man with muscles

I can hold and cradle at night.

Let his pecs be brawny let him

be able to bench my weight and make

mushroom omelets. Oh and also,

Lord, before we rest

in the floodplain of

each other’s arms,

let the quality of his movement

be a student protest, a

U.S. bomber drill, a mass rally

in support of a call to arms.

Let my man be an army. Let strict controls

keep the customers

from draining their accounts. I want

my man to unfold. I want

the root causes of this violence

hidden. Let the spirits ready

rockets in response and let the rockets

barrel out thousands no millions

of papier-mâché mantis shrimp.

Let no one be angry. Let our bodies

be at war. Let me throw bombs

into the hoop above the hoop above

the signpost above the bank. Let there be a dragon.

Let us flip a coin brought back from Europe

to decide who will live and let

the next transatlantic evacuation flight have

passengers and let the passengers have credit scores

taped to their foreheads.

Let us apply the human vocabulary of movement

to the living things of the sea.

Let me be in a bikini and he in a suit.

Let our bodies not fit.

If my hands were grape vines

they would grow towards his.

~

Questions for a Confident Woman (originally published in Sinister Wisdom and Syndications on the Rights of Women)

what do you look like   what do you wear

what did you tell yourself    this morning in the mirror

if you could    would you change any part of your body

do you have a favorite season

are you in love   what do you love

do you often ask questions   are you told that you talk too much

do you consider yourself a feminist   how do men respond to you

what is your work   can you see the world through another’s eyes

what does that look like

when choosing a seat around an oval table

surrounded by eleven others

would you sit in the same chair every day

would you change your response

based on the gender of those eleven individuals

tell me about your mother

what do you share   how are you different

what barriers have you overcome   where do you feel most comfortable

who are your role models   what do they look like

do you wash the dishes   are you free

In the coming months I have poems forthcoming in three publications: 

BOAAT, “What’s the Point of Shaving Legs Anyway?”

Adrienne, “May, 2012”, “A Ticket Out,” “Tall Prayer,” “(outer ear)”

Storyscape, “I Was,” “The Water is Happy to See Us,” “What I Might Remember Before I Die”

~

HAND-WRITTEN WORKS: 

For a sample of the kind of hand-written work I do (complete with wildflowers and origami cranes) please see: http://anincompletecatalogofthanks.tumblr.com/

http://anincompletecatalogofthanks.tumblr.com/
http://anincompletecatalogofthanks.tumblr.com/

Risks and challenges

I'm taking a BIG risk here––committing to not flying while I work on this project to collect 1001 stories about water and climate change. And I'm really nervous about it.

Travel culture is not built to accommodate people like me. It's about 1000x easier to log on to the internet and book a flight than it is to figure out passage aboard a cargo ship or sailboat.

Flights don't have a fuel tax. The cost of a flight doesn't accurately reflect the burden that those carbon emissions place on the planet. And that's just the tip of the proverbial melting iceberg.

I want to set an example.
for climate activists
for all of us
for the future.

We need to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, to transition to a largely fossil-fuel-free economy.

"Only 5 per cent of the world's population has ever flown. Flying is still a rich person's pastime. Poor people in poor countries don't do it. Yet these are the very communities that will be hit first, and most acutely, by climate change." - John Stewart, in Beyond Flying (Green Books, 2014)

Climate change is an environmental justice issue, and I am doing my best to take a stand.

And who are those most affected by climate change?

(It's not the people who are able to buy their way out of their problems. I'll tell you that much).

My goal not to take flights could fail. I could have to fly in case of an emergency.

But if I have the option to take a ship or to take a plane, I want to take the ship. To give myself permission to move slowly in a culture that glorifies speed. To wander purposefully. To collect stories from those crew members aboard the ANL BINDAREE who spend their working lives at sea.

I am nervous that as a woman pursuing her dreams, I will be targeted for my beliefs.

But I am not afraid of that.

I just bicycled over Arthur's Pass in the South Island of New Zealand, 920m in the air, despite the fact that many folks along the way told me that it would be too steep to pedal up.

Looking at some of those hills, I'll tell you––I was nervous. Heart-pounding nervous. The shoulder was narrow and my legs wanted to stop.

But I don't let fear rule me. I look at fear––of climate change, of all the shit that could happen to me for being a woman––and I continue moving.

Because movement is the language I come from. And the only way I know to get around an obstacle is to keep on creating. To let the movement of my body guide the movement of my mind.

Please, if you deny the science behind climate change, know that I want to hear from you, too. All stories matter. If we meet, I want to hear your voice.

... but not in a way that attacks me personally or attacks my work. The internet can be a difficult place to be a woman. Let's all work on changing that culture, okay?

Thank you!

In the words of Margaret Atwood:

"I think calling it climate change is rather limiting. I would rather call it the everything change because when people think climate change, they think maybe it’s going to rain more or something like that. It’s much more extensive a change than that because when you change patterns of where it rains and how much and where it doesn’t rain, you’re also affecting just about everything. You’re affecting what you can grow in those places. You’re affecting whether you can live there. You’re affecting all of the species that are currently there because we are very water dependent. We’re water dependent and oxygen dependent."

–– Margaret Atwood, in an interview with Slate
(http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/02/margaret_atwood_interview_the_author_speaks_on_hope_science_and_the_future.html)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    A DISPATCH FROM THE SEA: I'll write you a postcard-poem-story from aboard the ANL BINDAREE and pop it in the mail once I reach Melbourne.

    PLUS a hand-written shout-out on my blog, if you'd like it.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    A PDF EXCERPT OF MY MANUSCRIPT, POINT OF ORIGIN: I'll email you 25 pages of poems, loosely inspired by stories people told me on a bike trip I took following the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee to Venice, Louisiana in August 2013. I have been revising these poems for the last two years and am eager to share this piece of the full-length ms with you!

    PLUS a hand-written shout-out on my blog, if you'd like it.

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    MAIL TO YOUR DOORSTEP: I'll write you (or someone you care about) a letter with poems and possibly paper cranes and/or pressed flowers inside. For a sample of the kind of letters I write, see www.anincompletecatalogofthanks.tumblr.com.

    PLUS a hand-written shout-out on my blog, if you'd like it.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A POEM FOR YOU: give me five nouns, five verbs, and a bonus word of choice and I'll email you (or a friend) a PDF of a hand-written copy. Add on $5 if you would like the physical copy shipped to any address in the world. Lovely as a gift or a surprise!

    PLUS a hand-written shout-out on my blog, if you'd like it.

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    THE EVERYTHING BAGEL: Oh gosh, thank you for your support! I'll write A POEM FOR YOU, send MAIL TO YOUR DOORSTEP, send you A PDF EXCERPT OF MY MANUSCRIPT and A DISPATCH FROM THE SEA, let you ASK A QUESTION, and give you A HAND-WRITTEN SHOUT OUT ON MY BLOG, if you'd like it.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    2 NIGHTS FOR TWO AT THE ARTHUR'S PASS VILLAGE B&B, IN ARTHUR'S PASS, NEW ZEALAND: Great food and friendly hosts in the heart of the Southern Alps. Geoff and Renée, both friends of mine, welcome you to share their home in the village surrounded by the forest and peaks of Arthur's Pass National Park, at any point after June 2015. Includes lunch & dinner.

    You find a way to get yourself to Arthur's Pass and enjoy the rest!

    Note: Geoff and Renée have been rebuilding their home in the wake of a lightning fire that happened last year. It's going to be gorgeous, trust me. I am helping put in insulation and haul wood around the property as I write this!

    Keep in touch with contact@arthurspass.org.nz for more details. The B&B is estimated to re-open in May or June, 2015.

    http://www.arthurspass.org.nz/
    on Trip Advisor: http://tinyurl.com/pmo52jl

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Funding period

- (30 days)