Announcing eco-poetry anthology: Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges

Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges presents over ninety ecologically minded poets from China and the United States—the two countries most responsible for global carbon dioxide emissions and their effects on extreme climate change. Eco-poets ask, “What can poetry say about our place in the natural world today? How can we express empathy for non-human life to the same degree we express sympathy for ourselves?”

Eco-poetry freely searches for possible answers. Sichuan poet Sun Wenbo writes:

…I feel so liberated I start writing about
the republic of apples and democracy of oranges. When I see
apples have not become tanks, oranges not bombs,
I know I've not become a slave of words after all.

The Chinese poets in this anthology are from throughout the PRC and Taiwan, both minority and majority writers, from big cities and rural provinces, such as Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture and Xinjiang Uyghur, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions. The U.S. poets include the emerging and the well known, those in towns and cities across the nation and elsewhere.

Featured with the poetry are images by celebrated photographer Linda Butler documenting the Three Gorges Dam, on the Yangtze River, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Mississippi River Basin. (Pictured is Wandering Wall, Biloxi, Mississippi, 2005.) The Yangtze and Mississippi have in common the ecological crises of sinking deltas and cities (Shanghai and New Orleans, respectively), pollution from agricultural and industrial runoff, despoiled communities, the loss of livelihoods, vanishing wildlife, and sullied beauty. The rivers also have long histories of inspiring poets and artists. The poems in Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges add to the legacies of these great natural wonders.


Guest-edited by translators and poets Tony Barnstone and Ming Di, with series editor Frank Stewart, Republic of Apples, Democracy of Oranges is now available.