Review: Swerve – environmentalism, feminism, resistance

Swerve
environmentalism, feminism, and resistance

Author: Ellery Akers
Blue Light Press
2020
ISBN #978-1-4218-3640-9

 

 

“Swerve” is a very appropriate name for this book, as it references sudden “swerves”, or changes in direction (i.e. one day the Berlin wall, the next day no Berlin wall). As an environmentalist, Akers notes that we do not know that the future holds.  In this short (53 page) but amazing book, Akers addresses the topics of environmentalism, feminism, and resistance as issues that we need to confront.

Within these very well written poems we find a way to grieve our current state of affairs, at the same time that we are seeing hope for the future. We walk away with a new perspective on issues that confront us every day. We need to know that we are not alone, and that our grief needs to be experienced, then released, so that we can move forward.

The book is divided into three sections: The Earth, The Women, and Resistance. One of my favorite poems from “The Earth” is “Our Grief for the Earth Is Hidden”. Akers talks about how our world is being diminished, how species are becoming less populated, how we need to pay attention to the insects that are leaving us. In other words, we need to pay attention to the world around us.

There is a poem in “The Earth” entitled “The Buddhist Practice of Bowing”. The gentleness of Buddhism fascinates me and draws me. Akers is bowing to iron bracelets on prisoners, to women at both ends of the social/financial spectrum, and to young men who love cars. All of these things are part of life. In bowing to them Akers is acknowledging them. It is good to acknowledge things, but then to place them in our life where we can handle them.

In “Women”, the poem “Smoke” describes two different groups of people, both of whom are going to die. One group wants to make sure that the other group dies sooner. How reflective of our world!

In “Resistance”, the poem “Not Too Late” expresses the thought that as much damage as there has been on this earth, there is still time for a “rebirth”.

Akers poems are beautiful, sharing the truth of things we may not want to see. This little book is a gift, a gift that allows us to understand ourselves and the world around us much better. There is an imbalance in this world, which we need to acknowledge and move through. Grieve and move forward.  Answer the call to activism.

What a wonderful resource for these very trying times!

© March 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission.

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