Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the outdoors. It held all sorts of mysteries and wonders, and I would spend countless hours observing darting squirrels or sprouting pansies. I loved nature with all of my heart. I was in awe of the changing seasons, the flash of lightning, and the plants that bore produce. As I grew up, I learned about the variety of threats putting the environment in danger. Plastic pollution and habitat loss, among other issues, seemed to be eating away at the future of the planet. As the environmental degradation worsened, I felt the need to take action. Benjamin Franklin once said, “"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." I picked up my pen and wrote my thoughts, emotions, and appreciation for the world I live in. I lost myself to the magnificence of nature, and my passion towards environmental causes and saving our world. It took shape into 30 poems and a few illustrations. I hope you enjoy Harmony: The Saga of the Earth.
Banerjee addresses the planet’s landscape of climate horrors, from the extinction of the dodo bird to the animal cruelty required to make foie gras to plastic waste in the ocean. “What will we do when we run out of land // and all that remains is plastic and concrete?” the poet asks in the haunting “The Loss of Use and Toss.” Though Harmony is often despairing, Banerjee also laces the collection with visions for a better future. “Toccoa and Train” creates a parallel between the female-imagined Toccoa river and the male-imagined train running alongside it, each carrying their burdens and forming a partnership, with the train using the river for “her inspiration.” Together “they both ran and ran and ran, for every generation.”
This recontextualization has power. Banerjee imagines a world where the train, once the very emblem of the industrial age, and the river are not opposing forces, but instead part of a flowing harmony. As a love letter and call to action for the earth, Banerjee’s saga is a worthy addition to the genre of climate-change activism poetry by young authors.
Takeaway: Impassioned collection of climate activist poetry written by a student.
Comparable Titles: Luisa A Igloria, Aileen Cassinetto, and Jeremy S Hoffman’s Dear Human at the End of Time, Betsy Franco’s Things I Have to Tell You.
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