Poet Laureate Simon Armitage describes his recent visit to the Arctic as “life-changing.” The acclaimed poet believes that poets have a unique role in conveying the impact of climate change in a way that scientists and journalists cannot.
Conveying Climate Change Through Poetry
In his poem “Polar Bear,” Armitage vividly captures a polar bear navigating a vanishing glacier, creating a powerful image of the animal’s struggle as its habitat disappears.
He also uses poetry to convey the devastating impact of plastic pollution on seabirds. Through his work, Armitage aims to inspire awareness and action regarding environmental issues.
The Poet’s Responsibility
Simon Armitage believes that poets can play a crucial role in advocating for the environment. He contends that, in today’s world, where nature cannot speak for itself, poets can give nature a voice and draw attention to its plight.
As Poet Laureate, he has prioritized addressing climate change and environmental concerns through his poetry.
A Shift in Perspective
Armitage acknowledges that when he studied geography in the 1980s, climate change was not a prominent topic. However, during his visit to the Arctic, he witnessed the profound impact of climate change, which now dominates scientific discussions and research.
A Transformed Planet
Armitage’s Arctic journey led him to the realization that the planet, as traditionally understood, no longer exists in the same way. Climate change has dramatically altered landscapes, including the disappearance of glacial ice and the emergence of new islands and lakes.
Artistic Language to Convey Scientific Reality
The poet recognizes the limitations of scientific language in conveying the emotional and subjective aspects of climate change. While scientists may describe glaciers as “ill” or “sick,” poets can employ metaphors like “carcass” to create a deeper emotional connection and understanding.
Armitage aims to use the power of literary devices to make people not only comprehend but also feel the urgency and significance of the environmental crisis.
He believes that poetry has the potential to reach people on a profound level and inspire action, making it a valuable tool in the fight against climate change.
Speaking for the Environment
Armitage’s visit to the Arctic has strengthened his commitment to speaking for the environment through his poetry. As Poet Laureate, he continues to use his platform to raise awareness and provoke thought on climate change.
Through his work, he hopes to encourage individuals to view the environment as a critical and fragile entity, inspiring them to take action to protect it.