Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: Die In

The tower of Big Ben
alone and upside down
in my eye line

The empty sky
at odds with the sound of
filling this space
where traffic
once thrived
Now occupied by over
60,000 people
lying on the tarmac

We made ourselves trees
as we marched
branched arms hands nests
for the machine made echos
of a forest

The walk in the invisible woods was
With smiling and singing
chattering and chanting
Wondering that so many showed up

We were human
when we felled ourselves
silent and listening
alone and vulnerable
Grieving the ecocide we are causing
The absence of life beyond our own

There is a power in this ten minutes
though there shouldn’t be
this sound of birds should
be so everyday
even in this city

It is distant human song
That brings us back to life
Face paint tear streaked

There should be a power in this
this silent showing
of collective caring
So many people should make a difference
So many people should change something
beyond ourselves

From the outside
we can seem
like the birdsong
there and

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Ruth Jenkins

Born in Lancaster I moved to Norwich to study International Development and then Cultural Heritage. Much of my life has been focused on trying to do something about the climate and ecological crises. I found purpose in a community of activists. My poetry documents our experiences of activism and the hope I have found in collective action. I believe in sharing these stories as they can help to create a more just and planet friendly future.

A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.

Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."

Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."

Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2023 playlist