Hold Our Breath 2040: Writers and Artists Reimagine Forestation

Deadline: Rolling
Contact: Dr. Heidi Lynn Staples, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, University of Alabama
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 205-632-8971

Hold Our Breath 2040 takes its title from Jean O’Brien’s poem “Still Here,” in which the poet writes, “We must not forget the forests hold our breath.” With a nod to What’s Your 2040? Join the Regeneration and the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, Hold Our Breath 2040 intends to create a broad sustained international response from writers and artists to afforestation efforts that not only provide a monoculture of trees as carbon sinks but that support the sort of complex biodiverse inclusive ecologies rich with lively relationships that inspire the creative imagination.

The project will not only provide a substantive commemoration of ecological restoration through forestation. The directing of international attention will purposefully generate multilayered psychological and emotional engagements with emergent ecologically rich forests, actively shaping cultural consciousness, taking further inspiration from Glenn Albrecht’s idea of the Symbiocene and Donna Haraway’s call to “make kin…allowed by the fact that all earthlings are kin in the deepest sense.” A forward-looking creative engagement, Hold Our Breath 2040 seeks to contribute to a constructive global narrative mitigating climate despair, leveraging the critical power of the arts to co-create a biodiverse, ecologically restored, socially just and inclusive future.

Writers and artists may focus on, (but need not be limited to), the following sub-themes:

1. Forestation, biodiversity, reconnecting networks of kinship
2. Forestation, ecological restoration, rebuilding multispecies public worlds
3. Forestation, trauma, healing
4. Forestation, ideas of self/nonself, accessing nonbinary interbeingness
5. Forestation, slow emergency, resilient patience
6. Forestation, corporeal theology, creation
7. Forestation, shadow work, achieving balance
8. Forestation, ideas of space, making global connections
9. Forestation, feminine time, renewal through intergenerational provision
10. Forestation, ideas of the human, going feral
11. Forestation, consciousness, re-wilding
12. Forestation, complexity, participating in symbiotic inclusive relation
13. Forestation, colonial histories, sustainable futures

We are open to other ideas that respond to the theme or subthemes, hybridizing them or departing. Please send us your work to be featured in our digital commemoration, which we will display online at this domain in perpetuity. Copyright remains with the creatives. Help initiate us all into our emergent world of connections and possibility.

Submission guidelines are as follows:
Genres of poetry, short fiction, hybrid work, plays, nonfiction or extracts, images of visual art, videos of performing arts

Maximum of 3 poems, one short prose piece (up to 2500 words), 3 images of art works, 1-10 minutes of short film or performing arts video.

A photo, preferably theme-related

A short bio

Writers selected for features will be asked to send a statement of ecopoetics and 1-3 suggested readings

Call is open year-round

Work should be sent to [email protected]

Thank you, and we hope to have the chance to read or view your work.

Posted on February 22, 2021