Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: The Green We Left Behind

The Green We Left Behind Against National’s Growth
sometimes, our keyboards know us better than our heads do.
the time i knew living comes first before loving was when
my autocorrect changed my “i love this world” to “i live this world”.
meaning, you learn to live first before you learn to love. meaning,
both don’t co-occur in one sentence. meaning, it is either you leave
to love or you love to live. the end result is that the choice
is always yours to make. it is the same way every chicken that scatters
my grandmother’s grave reminds me often. of the choice i made to
stomach eggs and feathers at christmas. my dad said there
are more things to worry about other than that. he says
to worry about how much our sunglasses had made us
forget how green the world was. i said what’s green? he said
green was a color in the world his grandson —my son— may
never get to see.

my younger sister is eight, but she knows about everything
that unmakes the sea. sometimes, i wonder if she isn’t
growing into the doorway of a storm; into the mouth of
the earthquake that might sink the tomorrow she has always
been promised she would see. the truth is that we all have
our thumbprints on the body of our own doom. like how
every single time i open a car door means i’m poisoning
the earth. forensics said Miami was the first to die.
forensics said Osaka was the first to sink. a neighbor
said we are safe in africa. as if we don’t live on earth first
before we live in a country. as if when the earth gets browned,
it will handpick its doom by the color of our skins.
as if when the earth gets warm, we will be protected by
the skins of our forefathers that had drowned in the sea.
as if we hadn’t cut down trees and replaced them with our
homes. as if the storm would call us by our surnames
and refuse to wash us when it realizes we are black.
so this time around, before the storm claims my body
and make me a landmark in my son’s memory, I am
recounting my steps back to all the green we left behind.

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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Saheed Sunday

Saheed Sunday, NGP V, is a Nigerian poet, a Star Prize awardee, a Best of the Net nominee, and a HCAF member. He is the author of a poetry collection: Rewrite The Stars. He won the ZODML Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award, and The Breakbread Literacy Project. He has his works on Lolwe, Trampset, The Deadlands, Shrapnel Magazine, Rough Cut Press, The Temz Review, Brittle Paper, Poetry Column and others.

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