The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Facing Aridity by Diana Woodcock

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Alaina Hanchey, is from Facing Aridity by Diana Woodcock, released by Wayfarer Books in 2021.

How to Feel Small

If you’ll envision vibrant flowers of flowing
tentacles—sea anemones, predatory faunae—
	blooming on the seafloor,

if you’ll reckon the 4.5 billion years it’s taken
such a sensitive biosphere to evolve,
	you’ll feel small.

I believe if you’ll read
of giant algae blooms and oil slicks
	visible from space,

of climate change and violent
silent conflicts, of capitalist globalization
and third-world slave labor,

one-third of the world’s people
impoverished, malnourished while
one-third of food produced worldwide

is never consumed, human subjectivity
as endangered (due to mass media’s
homogenization) as disappearing rare species,

it will indeed—if you have a heart—
cause you to grieve. But then, if you’ll
envision Arctic poppies unfolding

their crumpled petals in the frigid wind,
Gentoo penguins preening and carousing
	all for the sake of a mate,

I’ll bet you’ll decide heaven can wait—
this side of it though perilous too marvelous,
	mysterious, to voluntarily vacate.

Diana Woodcock’s fourth poetry collection, Facing Aridity, was published in 2021 as the 2020 Prism Prize for Climate Literature finalist. Forthcoming in 2023 is Holy Sparks (2020 Paraclete Press Poetry Award finalist). Recipient of the 2011 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Poetry Prize for Women for Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, her work appears in Best New Poets 2008 and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Currently teaching at VCUarts Qatar, she holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, where her research was an inquiry into poetry’s role in the search for an environmental ethic.

Alaina Hanchey, known as Harley to both friends and foes, believes rhetoric is intensely important and the way we speak can change the world. That belief was shared by her best friend, Quinn Arielle Kerlin, who inspired her to volunteer and immerse herself in those words that matter, and the connections that matter.


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