Our planet is in crisis. As readers, publishers, and writers, we must ask ourselves: In this pivotal moment, what is our role?
Here: Poems for the Planet answers this question through poetry and a practical guide to activism, inviting readers to get inspired—literally, take in a new breath—and then take action. Here includes poems from more than 125 voices including U.S. Poet Laureates, Pulitzer Prize-winners, and youth poets; a foreword from His Holiness the Dalai Lama; and a 37-page guide from the Union of Concerned Scientists. It will be published on Earth Day in 2019, with your help.
As a nonprofit publisher, at Copper Canyon Press we turn to our community (that’s you) when it’s time to do something big. To publish Here: Poems for the Planet, and to help it have maximum impact, we’ll need your help: We envision distributing the book to every member of Congress, donating copies to programs in need, and distributing the book widely. This will require a generous print run, and will be possible thanks to your support!
To honor your crucial contribution, and your commitment to environmental justice, we want to print your name, or the name of a loved one, in every copy of the first edition of the book, when you back the project at $100 or more. Or you can pre-order the book with any pledge at $25 or above. Scroll down to “about the publisher” to learn more about our nonprofit publishing model, and read on for much more about the contents and components of this book.
In addition, all day 1 and day 2 backers will receive a digital broadside featuring one poem from Here: Poems For The Planet.
We must raise $25k by December 21st—winter solstice—in order to receive any of the funds pledged to this Kickstarter campaign! Thank you for helping us get there. This dollar amount represents roughly ⅓ of the overall expenses for the book. If (when!) we reach our goal, we will set our sights on a stretch goal to help cover the full $75k required to publish Here: Poems for the Planet.
As a nonprofit publisher of poetry, only half of our overall operational expenses are covered by book sales, so each pledge helps us to sustain our community-powered model of getting poetry into the hands of those who’ll benefit from its power.
Here: Poems for the Planet includes poems by Mary Oliver, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Hass, Kwame Dawes, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Ross Gay, and Margaret Atwood—to name a few! We’re proud that our table of contents will include current and former United States Poet Laureates, Pulitzer Prize-winners, mid-career poets, emerging poets, and youth poets. Ready to be dazzled? To read the full list of poet contributors who will be published in Here: Poems for the Planet, follow this link.
Organization and Themes
The anthology is divided into four sections. Poems in the first section put us in touch with the beauty of our planet. In the second section, poets witness the environmental peril faced by Earth and its inhabitants. The third section celebrates animals, and mourns extinction. The fourth section includes poems by young people—our present and future—and the fifth section inspires action through poems imbued with hope and vision. The poets in Here: Poems for the Planet come from many nations and cultures. The book addresses the fact that—while threats to our planet impact us all—low-income communities and people of color, including indigenous people, bear the brunt of environmental devastation. Following the poetry is a guide to activism; keep scrolling down to learn more.
Printing and Design
Copper Canyon Press is committed to the highest standard in printed books. Here will be designed by Valerie Brewster, and printed on paper and cover stock certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance. We are committed to making choices that further our sustainability efforts while maintaining excellence in printing.
The Union of Concerned Scientists created a Guide to Activism just for this project, to follow the poetry in Here: Poems for the Planet. After the poems have helped you feel what’s at stake, the guide will help you take action toward a better future.
The guide walks through best practices for anyone who wishes to:
- Contact your Representatives and others holding governmental power
- Put pressure on corporations to commit to green practices
- Communicate with media about environmental issues and actions
- Connect with others in the community who are working for environmental justice, against climate change, or on an issue you’re passionate about
By mobilizing scientists and combining their voices with those of advocates, educators, business people, and other concerned citizens, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has amassed an impressive history of accomplishments. UCS scientists and engineers develop and implement innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting misinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war.
The editor of Here: Poems for the Planet has chosen to donate all royalties from the book (including those copies reserved through this Kickstarter campaign) to UCS.
Elizabeth J. Coleman is a published poet, public-interest attorney, environmental activist, and teacher of mindfulness. She is the author of two poetry collections, The Fifth Generation (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016) and Proof (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the University of Wisconsin Press’s Brittingham and Pollak prizes, and two chapbooks. She translated into French Pythagoras in Love/Pythagore Amoureux (Folded Word Press, 2015), a bilingual sonnet collection. Her poems have been published in a number of journals and anthologies, and she is a vice president of the Poetry Society of America. A member of the New York, Georgia, and DC bars, Elizabeth runs Mindful Solutions LLC and is president of the Beatrice R. and Joseph A. Coleman Foundation. In Here, Elizabeth has brought together her love for poetry, for justice, and for our planet.
When Elizabeth brought her proposal for Here: Poems for the Planet to Copper Canyon Press, we were thrilled. Her passion for the project is contagious! Stay tuned for backer updates to learn more about Elizabeth’s vision for the book.
Watch this space for a sneak peek into the pages of Here: Poems for the Planet! We'll share poems and excerpts in the weeks to come. In the meantime, all those who pledge in the first 48 hours of the campaign will receive a digital broadside featuring a poem from the book!
For more than 45 years, Copper Canyon Press has been operating as an independent publisher dedicated to poetry. Our nonprofit status enables and requires us to place art above profit, and creative freedom above the whims of the marketplace. We are able to operate in the name of aesthetic excellence and cultural relevance, specifically because you and other visionary community members share this value, essential to a healthy climate for the arts. Not unlike independent record companies and public radio stations, we rely on the support of donors like you, who share our belief that poetry is vital to language and living. The Kickstarter community in particular has helped us to publish major collections including Ursula K. Le Guin’s So Far So Good, Then Come Back: The Lost Poems of Pablo Neruda, The Essential W.S. Merwin, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil's Oceanic. We are proud to publish extraordinary poetry—in collaboration and community with you.
When you pledge $100 or more to Here: Poems for the Planet, your name (or the name of a loved one) will be printed in every copy of the book, soon to be on bookshelves all over the world. At $25 and above, you'll receive a copy of the book, before it's been widely distributed. This is a special opportunity to place your name in support of a truly unique and timely collection of poetry for our planet—recorded in the Library of Congress for all time.
Poetry is vital to language and living.
Thank you for believing in poetry's power to influence culture and spark positive change.
Risks and challenges
We are far enough along in the production process to excitedly anticipate an Earth Day 2019 publication date for HERE: POEMS FOR THE PLANET. To get there will require a generous and supportive group effort from poetry readers and the Kickstarter community. Now we begin the work of reaching all the people we believe will feel inspired and empowered by the anthology—we can do this together!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)