This event was organized by the Friends & Foundation of the Albany Public Library (FFAPL), & moderated by Alexis Bhagat, Executive Director of FFAPL. It was held on Zoom & live-streamed on the Capital Region Earth Day Youtube Channel.
Lex began the program with a moving statement acknowledging the land on which we live & the nations of this land. The program was divided into 5 parts with readings by local officials, scholars, activists & poets.
The first section was titled A Reading for the Land and the City. The readers included the Honorable Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of Albany, Melanie Metzger from the Albany Public Library, Lauren Moore NYS Librarian, Atmospheric Scientist Daniel Kirk-Davidoff, & Preem Cabey from AVillage. Selections were read from the works of others & their own writings.
The second section was titled A Reading for the River and the Waters. The readers included local, regional & national poets, including myself, Ramona Cearly from Riverkeeper.org, Susan Pedo, & Ken Hada (director the the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival at ECU, Ada, OK).
The next section was A Reading for the People & the Animals & included poets Lucyna Prostko, Matthew Burns, Tiffany Higgins & Gretchen Primack.
A Reading for the Wind and the Air was the fourth section, with readings by Jill Szwed, poet Allie Middleton, local activist Luke Forbes, & novelist & activist Pippa Bartolotti.
The final section was titled A Reading for the Future & included appropriately enough students from the Albany High Leo Club, Christian Simmons, Egypt Snipe & Rashid Ford. The final performer was rapper Jayohcee from the Akwesasne Nation & a song he wrote while in Standing Rock.
An excellent source for eco-poems is Ghost Fishing, An Eco-Justice Anthology, edited by Melissa Tuckey, from the University of Georgia Press.
As the sign on my lawn says, “Everyday is Earth Day.”