Klimaatdichters (Climate Poets) is a fast-growing poetic collective of over 230 poets from the Netherlands and Flanders. Inspired by the British Poets for the Planet, we use poetry in all its forms to fight for a better climate.
Since the start of our collective in 2020, we have published a poetry collection (Swimming lessons for later) and have collaborated with both literary and action-oriented organisations. We have joined climate marches, read poems at XR-events, and made programmes for festivals like Poetry International, Het Park vertelt, Dak der Lusten and Poetik Bazar.
We are currently touring theatres with our own multidisciplinary performances, and working on a project for the European ArtACT-programme that aims to combine arts and activism. Together with Poets for the Planet, Klimaatdichters is developing an international network of climate poets. You can read more about our projects below, or contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo (c) Kaj Venhuizen
From the Klimaatdichters Manifesto
Our planet is in crisis. Oceans are acidifying. Species are disappearing. Forests are burning. Our own survival is threatened.
The net is closing in; this is more than a heat wave or a winter without snow.
It's time to raise our voice in the air like a fist.
Encouraged by protests around the world, we believe that poetry can play an important role in turning the tide,
as a creative and inspiring voice in the fight for the climate.
We are lyrical about nature and furious about its destruction. We deploy the beauty of language to create
awareness and inspire change. Our dream is a global community of artists united around one mission: caring for our planet.
ArtACT: Let everything here be grounded
Let everything here be grounded is a poetic short film that wants to give a voice to nature, as it has been endangered by humans.
In 2023, Klimaatdichters headed into nature with a mission four times, led by poet Sara Eelen. Every season they were assisted by a different group committed to a better climate. Together, they formed a word in the landscape, using various natural materials. In this way, they initiated a dialogue with the landscape and the seasons: what material to choose, where to find it and how to add it to the landscape without causing it any harm? The film, in combination with four poems that were written by eight Klimaatdichters, shows us how the seasons shift and how poetry rhymes with the landscape. This short film aims to bring people closer to nature and to spark a conversation about grief and care for nature.
Project of Klimaatdichters and Poëziecentrum (Poetry Centre in Ghent, BE) for ArtACT, a European initiative that combines art and activism, co-funded by the European Union.
Coordination and concept: Sara Eelen.
Video: Sebastiaan Schaevers. Read more..
Multidisciplinary performances about threatened species
In a series of multidisciplinary theatere performances that combine poetry, music, informative texts and animation, Klimaatdichters explore climate themes such as intensive agriculture and light pollution. They do this by zooming in on three species, following them in their daily activities and celebrating the lives of these special creatures. The first performance focuses on the hare, the rye lily and the worm, while the second one will pay tribute to the firefly, the strawberry and the sea turtle.
Concept and coordination: Moya De Feyter, Babette Wagenvoort and Saskia Stehouwer. Image: Babette Wagenvoort.
Schedule for The firefly, the strawberry and the sea turtle:
26/01/2024 VONK & Zonen, Blikfabriek, BE (tickets)
18/02/2024 Zaal 3, Den Haag, NL (tickets)
Poets of the anthropocene
Can poetry save the planet? It might as well try.
Artists have always found inspiration in nature, so what does writing in a time of loss and destruction look like? An angry scream, or an elegy? Is there room for poetry in a biosphere dominated by humans and their machines?
Together with Bozar, Klimaatdichters have invited four “poets of the Anthropocene” onto the stage to read from their own work and talk about the intersection of nature and writing. With: Geert Buelens, Dominique De Groen, Lisa Robertson & Miek Zwamborn. Moderated by Pieter Van de Walle, member of Klimaatdichters and biologist.
27 February 2024, Podium HLB, Brussels. For more information visit the Bozar-website.
Klimaatdichters have performed, protested and published, but have we ever actually read a book together? With all the fascinating, growing and flourishing eco-literature that is available these days, it is high time for a book club!
For the first edition of the book club we have selected a book by a very special climate poet: Onderling by Miek Zwamborn (Van Oorschot, 2023). Onderling is an intimate encounter with a landscape. “Through poems, letters, essays, drawings, maps and photographs, Zwamborn guides the reader through volcanic eruptions, millennia-old quaking bogs, depopulated fields, Celtic primeval forests, fluctuating mudflats, waving water forests and an all-encompassing sky.”
The book club is supervised by climate poets Margot Delaet and Pieter Van de Walle. The first meeting will be held on the 11th of February, from 17-19hrs in Bozar (Ravensteinstraat 23, 1000 Brussels). Would you like to participate? It's free! Register by sending an email to email@example.com. Image (c) Charlotte Peys.
Poem of the month
For more than three years now, the Poem of the month has been an enduring component of the Klimaatdichters' website. We have built an impressive archive of poems (in Dutch) by both experienced and aspiring poets. These poets deal with topics across the entire spectrum of climate-related issues, always trying to express themselves in a new and creative manner that will inspire the readers to look at the world in a different way.
All poets are welcome to submit their contributions through firstname.lastname@example.org. So far we have only published poems in Dutch and Afrikaans, but any English-speaking poet who wants to submit a poem is welcome to do so, provided that a Dutch translation is included with the submission. The editorial team who selects the monthly winner consists of Pieter Van De Walle, Lies Van Gasse, Moya De Feyter and Saskia Stehouwer.
Poem: Sylvie Marie
Klimaatdichters connect poets to festivals, organisations and events that are looking for a climate poet to give a performance. They can also assist when an organisation or journal is asking for a newly written poem or an interview about a climate-related issue. Over the years, Klimaatdichters have performed at all major poetry festivals in the Netherlands and Flanders, and have participated in many local climate initiatives and events. If you are looking for a climate poet to perform at an event you have organised, you can contact us through email@example.com.
Inspired by the Let everything here be grounded-project (see above), educational specialist and Klimaatdichter Marjan de Ridder created an education kit consisting of four workshops tailor-made for different age groups, from kindergarten pupils to adults interested in poetry.
The workshops are built around the poems that were written for the project and teach students how to write their own climate poems. This is done in an embodied and playful way without diminishing the importance of the climate theme. Students are encouraged to work together and reflect on their process. With this kit, Klimaatdichters are well-equipped to give workshops at schools and organisations, creating awareness and stimulating the creativity of future generations.
Swimming lessons for later is a collection of climate poetry. A cry for the earth, an ode to nature, a call for revolution. The collection was published by Vrijdag Publishers and is now in its third edition!
Powerful and loving literary plea for the recovery of the planet.
Young, up-and-coming poets and acclaimed poets unite around one message:
it's time to change.
This could well become a global movement in poetry.
Klimaatdichters believe in poetry as a form of resistance to climate fatigue. They try to imagine a future where lessons have been learned from the ecological emergency and nature can finally take its rightful place at the center of the world. They take up their pens to let the earth speak, because man has said enough.
All proceeds from the book will go to One World Tree Planting (facebook), an international, participatory network of climate activists, who support each other in the development of local climate projects, fundraising and the forming of a local green economy.
Swimming lessons for later: Climate poetry
ArtACT research document: Poetic mapping
The aim of this research was to create a poetic map of spaces and voices in Flanders and the Netherlands that would form the starting point of projects at the crossroads of ecology and poetry (possibly combined with other art forms). It elaborates on the central goals that we, Klimaatdichters and Poëziecentrum Ghent, have formulated for our ArtACT-project: to focus on climate poetry from an other-than-human perspective, to engage in conversation with, and give a voice to, spaces and landscapes, in order to inspire climate awareness and action in an innovative and creative manner. The document was written by Saskia Stehouwer and Will Kranendonk and contains an overview of activist art practices as well as interviews with diverse stakeholders in the field.
You can read the full text of the document by clicking on the pdf-button.
We also reflected on the themes we discussed in the research by means of an exchange of letters, which was published here on the Versepolis website.