As Greenland’s glaciers melt and flow into the sea, Pacific island nations are on the receiving end of some of that water. It’s a familiar story about climate change: One nation crumbles into the ocean; others risk drowning under rising sea levels.
It’s also the backdrop for a unique artistic collaboration between two indigenous poets from opposite ends of the earth. Last summer, these women — who had met for the first time days earlier — stood side by side, one dressed in black, the other in white, reciting a poem they’d written together:
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner traveled from the Marshall Islands in Micronesia to Greenland’s capital city Nuuk where she met Inuk poet Aka Niviâna. Together, they embarked with a small film crew to a remote spot on southern Greenland’s ice sheet where they recited their poem “Rise” on top of a crevasse-scarred melting glacier.
With dramatic orchestration and mournful cries sounding urgently in the film’s background, the poets tell of the lands of their respective ancestors, the sunken volcanoes and hidden icebergs. They speak of angry seas, evoking the legends of sisters turned to stone, and Sassuma Arnaa, Mother of t... Read more