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Murmuration

We’re creating a collective poem for our times: please join us 

Murmuration is a way to bring us all together, a mass online collaboration to create a collective poem for our times, an inventory of what really matters, celebrating our love for the natural world at a time of Climate Crisis and Coronavirus.

Why ‘murmuration’?

In autumn and winter, just before dusk, great flocks of starlings gather in astonishing displays of aerial acrobatics, a prelude to roosting.  A ‘murmuration’ like this might include hundreds of thousands of birds, or as few as two or three hundred, flying together, never colliding.  Starlings know there is safety in numbers, protection from predators and cooling temperatures.  The birds can share news and information, enjoy each other’s company, arcing, folding and singing together.

In the human realm, creative Climate Action requires both an individual and a collective response and the starlings’ murmuration offers a symbol of what can be achieved through community, collaboration and co-operation.

Learning from the starlings, we can raise our wings, our voices in a loud accumulating murmur, and remember to stay in touch with what we love about this miraculous world where we live, sharing our observations, feelings, dreams and wishes.  Together we can make something spectacular, far greater than the sum of its parts, an ensemble work of art.

How do I take part?

You can contribute by writing between one and three lines of any length celebrating the natural world, beginning with either:

Because I love…

or

What if…

Write the first thing that comes into your head or spend a little time mulling it over and crafting it.  Either approach is fine.  The directness, authenticity and openness of your response is what’s important.

Whether outside or indoors, look closely, ask questions and remember: record.  Write from your senses, from your heart.  Catch what you want to say in sharp, vivid language – be precise rather than abstract.  Keep it tight, you only have a few lines – room enough to say what is true and essential.

Just begin with Because I love… or What if… and see what happens.

Building the collective poem

All the thoughts and impressions sent in will be scribed, distilled and curated into a single long poem by Climate Writer Linda France, expressing the collective imagination of all the people who have contributed.

Artist Kate Sweeney will bring the lines to life, making an animated film of our reflections and insights on our connection with this earth, the natural world and each other at this extraordinary moment in time.

Be aware that if you send in examples using both phrases, they won’t necessarily follow on from each other in the final group poem – they need to work as separate units, fragments that will mosaic and murmur together.

Add your lines

Send in your lines by either filling in this form or sharing on social media using #murmuration

We will need all lines sent to us by 1 August 2020 and we look forward to sharing the collective poem with you in October 2020.

One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? 

What if I knew I would never see it again?’

 Rachel Carson

Murmuration is part of Writing the Climate, Linda France’s residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University. Find out more

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