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Articles by Nadia Herman Colburn

Nadia Herman Colburn's poetry and prose have been published in such places as The New Yorker, Slate, American Poetry Review and The American Scholar. She curates Continuities: Readings and Discussions and is completing a memoir about motherhood, social responsibility, and art.

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Now that the first month of the new year in the new decade has come to an end, a first month that has brought much to mourn and not much to celebrate, I’ve been thinking again about hope. What some were calling “Hopenhagen,” did not, as we all know, and perhaps should have known from the start, provide much reason for real hope. Daily there are more reasons to be worried — not just about climate change, but about genetically modified foods, ever-increasing rates of cancer, a great wave of extinction, the death of the oceans, and a hundred other subheadings of the apocalypse. The word is out: things aren’t so good.

How, then, do I talk to my children — five and nine — about the state of the planet, about hope? The question is worth asking, and revisiting, not only for the sake of the children and the future they will both inherit and create, but also because thinking about things in ways that children can understand can open up a new clarity for ourselves, as well.

I recently hosted an afternoon of readings and discussions on the themes of poetry and ecology. Poets, scientists, and activists spoke about their work and abou... Read more