Books

Top 5 poetry collections on climate change, chosen by Rishi Dastidar

The author and poet selects five books that lay bare the truth about the climate emergency in verse

Climate change: Arid landscape beside a field of flowers

Image by Enrique from Pixabay

Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency edited by Kate Simpson

Anthologies are a good way to tackle a subject as vast as climate change and this, with a range of angry dystopian poems that also manages to offer hope, is the best of recent years. 

Anthropocene by Sudeep Sen

Through poems, essays and imagery, the Delhi-based writer and artist shows us what’s happening on the climate front line, including the emotional impact of living when “heat melts everything”. 

Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit

Set in a psychiatric ward and the Amazon, this speaks to the collective climate madness that endangers species and their environments. Petit’s language is sometimes brutal, but always beautiful. 

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Ultimatum Orangutan by Khairani Barokka

We can’t understand the climate change concept without delving into its colonial past and the destruction of ecosystems by empire. Barokka’s second collection is unflinching in the scars it leaves. 

The Trees Witness Everything by Victoria Chang

Thinking about loss goes hand-in-hand when contemplating climate change. Using a Japanese form called ‘waka’, Chang’s poems do just that. Sad, elegiac and intensely vivid.

Neptune’s Projects cover

Neptune’s Projects by Rishi Dastidar is out now (Nine Arches Press, £10.99). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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