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Poetry Seeks to Connect People to Protected Land

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Monday, November 22, 2021   

WALES, Maine -- Land trusts across the Northeast have partnered with poets this year for the first edition of "Writing the Land," an anthology to help raise awareness of the value of protecting nature.

Forty poets each wrote pieces inspired by different areas of conserved land, including here in Maine.

David Crews, one of the poets, worked with three different Land Trusts, including Liberation Farms and the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons. He said each one allowed him to connect with the land, and people who work the land, in different ways.

"They're really trying hard to try to give voice not only to the land itself, but to people who are trying to serve the land in responsible ways," Crews explained.

The anthology can be purchased at the Land Trusts featured in the book. Next year, Writing the Land will have four anthologies coming out, featuring more than 100 poets and more than 50 Land Trusts. One of them will cover Maine specifically, because the state contains so much protected land.

Rachelle Parker, another poet in the anthology, said for her, being a part of the project meant connecting with the ways land offers sustenance and shelter.

"For me, I write from a point of view of a descendant of enslaved Africans," Parker noted. "So they had to rely on the land to gain freedom at times, transporting themselves from slavery to freedom, and how the land was there to accept them and to welcome them."

Lis McLoughlin, director and editor of Writing the Land, hopes the poems take readers on a journey and encourage them to emotionally connect with nature; the spaces represented in the poems and what they have around them.

She said when her community in Massachusetts was threatened by a pipeline in 2014, a Land Trust came to their defense.

"I came to realize that Land Trusts are really important," McLoughlin recounted. "Their mission of protecting land is for everybody. So I thought, 'Well, my poetry comes from the land, I may as well use it to help protect the land.'"


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