Since being elected as an RSA Fellow several months ago, I’ve been taking a big interest in the RSA Arts and Ecology Centre. Here’s some information about one of their new online projects which unites my twin passions of poetry and sustainable living. I hope it’ll get the attention it deserves!

Poets online work based on unsustainability of flying to literary events
John Kinsella and Melanie Challenger collaborate on new web-based commission

Poets Melanie Challenger and John Kinsella are creating a new online poetry work for the RSA Arts & Ecology Centre based on their decision to abandon long-haul flying for ethical reasons.

Set up by the RSA in 2005, the RSA Arts & Ecology Centre supports and catalyses artistic initiatives that respond to the environmental challenges of our time. The Centre has commissioned Challenger and Kinsella to produce an exchange of poems that grow out of their exchange of thoughts on air travel. The result is a multi-part work, Dialogue between the body and the soul, which will evolve on the RSA Arts & Ecology website over coming weeks.

The first part of Dialogue between the body and the soul is published today. Opening by John Kinsella can be read here.

Michaela Crimmin, Head of RSA Arts & Ecology says, “Whether to travel or not to an event can be a real dilemma for artists. It’s great to read two great poets tackling the subject in such an original way.”

Background | In October 2007 Challenger and Kinsella were invited to meet at a reading at the Harold Clurman Center for Poetry, Poetic Language, and the Spoken Word in New York. John had edited Melanie’s debut poetry collection, and this would have been their first opportunity to share their work in person. Earlier that year, Melanie had cancelled a flight to New York for environmental reasons but had not made the final decision against using stratospheric flights. On the other side of the world, John had already made the decision that such air travel was no longer justifiable. Via emails, they discussed why they could not meet for the reading. That was the starting point for this exchange, Dialogue between the body and the soul.

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