We launch Valerie Martinez's new book, Count, with a reading and talk on Zoom.
Count is a powerful book-length poem that reckons with the heartbreaking reality of climate change. Forty-three sections of myth-gathering, flora and fauna, accounts of climate devastation, personal narratives, witnessing, references to works of eco-art, and evocations of children unfold over the course of the book, creating a deeply nuanced image of the current climate crisis. Central to this vital work of ecopoetry is the idea of counting--counting down to the extinction of a species, counting the wonders of the natural world, counting our way back to the balance that is required to save ourselves from climate destruction. Filled with a sense of grief and sorrow for the current state of the planet, Count also offers a glimmering hope that future generations will restore our damaged environment.
With sections that vary between poetry, science, Indigenous storytelling, numerical measurement, and narration, Valerie Martínez's new work results in an epic panorama infused with the timely urgency of facing an apocalyptic future. This beautiful, tragic, and unusual poem is a testimonial, a warning, and a call to action that will captivate lovers of contemporary poetry and ecopoetry, environmentalists, and climate activists alike. Count skillfully calls on our collective desire to leave a livable world, filled with the potential for healing, as a legacy to the generations of children that come after us.
Valerie Martinez is the author of six books of poetry. Her award-winning poetry has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, William Carlos William Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and PEN Open Book Award, and it received an honorable mention in the 2011 International Latino Book Awards