Latin American Ecopoetry Manifesto

Poetry as a form of expression in this millennium, especially Latin American poetry—whether Brazilian or Hispanic, can no longer ignore the global call and existential engagement on behalf of organic nature and its beings. As a form of communication with and commitment to both hearts and minds, we call upon all poets in the name of Ecopoetry to create and disseminate poetry that leads us to think ecopoetically. “Eco,” as the Greek root reminds us, is our home: the planet earth shared with thousands of other species. Therefore, ecopoetry – ECO + POETRY, that is, ECO + POESIS, means to make poetic. It is not a poetry that emphasizes critique but rather one that is a creative act like art.

The manifesto is also an ANTI-POEM, as affirmed by the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra and thousands of unknown poets who have lived, who live, and who will yet live beyond our present existence. Poetic language is renewed with each crisis. The environmental crisis will be irreversible if we remain in silence. It is already global. This manifesto is but one among many poetic appeals in the name of climate justice. It is also the picture of a generation that desires to pass on to future generations a planet that is still green, that many of us know and do not want to be destroyed by post-industrial revolutions and the artificial promises of an exclusionary form of well-being proposed by powerful economic forces. These same forces warmed the planet and provoked an ecological crisis of serious proportions and actions—whether collective or not—marked by war.

We are living in a moment of SOLASTALGIA (root, algia = pain) and we do not know when it will end nor what world we will leave for those who are younger. We have been betrayed! We believed in technology, and it accelerated the destruction of the natural world, a world we have failed to protect as stewards, the role in which we were cast by the great religious systems.

This is a manifesto that expresses a suppressed rage, a schizophrenic anxiety, but it is also a breath of hope.

Poets! Abandon your megalomaniac and introverted isolations. There is no time for personal salvation. Let us save the planet, our home and the home of millions of innocent beings.

Let us remember that the time of sacred Nature, as W. B. Yeats affirmed, is capable of making the grotesque human form dance under the clouds of the forests, the deer, the raven, the foxes, the wolves and the bears, nearly all things beneath the sun and the moon. In it resides the peace of untouched nature, evoked by the spirit of nature and by the primordial energy that the Hindus call PRAKRITI, which preceded the existence of EVERYTHING and, afterwards, EXISTENCE MANIFESTS ITSELF.

Let us plant trees in yards and in the streets, in the sidewalks, far from the electric wires. Let us replant the flowers, the fruit trees, Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest of the Tropics. Only then will we be able to peacefully plant trees made of words. Let us invite the birds, the bees, and the saguis. Let us allow the rivers to run clean, let us take only what is necessary for the day of this life from the generosity of Nature!

Let us remember the romantics, who foresaw the chronicles of our death foretold!!!!!! The anarchist modernists understood their messages.

Listen Brazil! Mário de Andrade heard the water of the Tietê, groaning “pesada e oleosa” [heavy and oily].

Let us not deceive ourselves further by the seduction of closed-door meetings, sparked in the white collar offices of the selfish and criminal powers who plan, in their small-minded circles, genocidal solutions for the planet and its inhabitants.

Let us weep for the desecrated forests and for the extinct animals, devoured and tortured each day. We are guilty of our own disgrace. We have succumbed to our own destruction. Let us not be cynical. Let the destruction of our own home no longer fall upon us. Let us leave for other generations the good of the earth that we have perversely enjoyed. We have exploited nature and the animals! Enough! Enough! Let us have an ecological poetry as an existential condition adapted for the revolution of a more altruistic and compassionate world of people who resist evil.

A poetry that deconstructs the self-centered modes of making poetry—purely anthropocentric—and that ignores its own arrogant position against non-humans, and may it remember, humbly, the privilege of peopling the earth.

Philosophy failed by ignoring the cry of a suffering earth and its little ones. Traditional religion failed, and poetry has also failed. There is still time to repair our mistakes! Poetic language may bring justice to our tormented planet and help us understand that we are one among millions and the earth is not our private property but a gift granted to millions of beings who, like us, have a right to life.


Zelia M. Bora has a PhD in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies in Brown University. She contributes to the Post-Graduate Program at federal University of Paraíba (UFPB), Brazil. She is founder of the Comission for Animal Welfare at UFPB, and also founder and president of ASLE Brasil.


Antonio Lisboa Carvalho de Miranda is a member of Associação Nacional de Escritores (National Writers Association), professor and former head of the Sciences Information Post-Graduate Program at Universidade de Brasília. He was the first director of Biblioteca Nacional de Brasília (Brasília Nacional Library). Has lived and published in several countries in Latin America, and was granted numerous awards and prizes.


The image is an illustration made by Amazônia Latitude. Translation by Rex P. Nielson. Read the original article in portuguese here.


Translate »