In Which I Fall in Love with a Bike Path

I visited Chicago last year, fell in love with a bike path, and wrote this for Bicycling Magazine

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I mean, the beauty. How could I resist?

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inside the Chakaia Booker sculpture

Experiencing the Bloomingdale Trail has made me want more out of cities. I don’t want to spend all of my mental energy dodging cars. I want to have corridors (or heck, whole carless streets) that let me intersect with art, poetry, and other humans face to face. I want topographical variations that make the eye move. I want the air to taste good (read: lots of plants).

Most of all, I want outdoor spaces that inspire people to get out of their homes and have conversations with one another. And I want those conversations to cross borders of race and gender and age and class and ability.

Long live the Bloomingdale Trail!

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poetry underfoot

Poetry & Honey – upcoming event!

BOSTON-AREA FRIENDS:

On Friday Aug 19th at 7pm I’ll be reading poems at Follow The Honey (1132 Mass Ave) in Cambridge, MA. Stick around after for a wine tasting with Proud Pour!

Here’s the Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/319270138414558

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The event is free. I’m making a whole bunch of handmade poetry chapbooks that will be for sale in exchange for any donation — all funds will help me attend the UN climate talks in Morocco this November as a youth delegate with SustainUS.

More updates to come! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Here’s the full event description:

 

Poetry and honey together (and perhaps a spot of wine)?!?! OH YES.

Kick off National Honey Day events with a poetry reading by Devi Lockwood at Follow the Honey in Cambridge, MA. Stick around after for a wine tasting with Proud Pour.

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Devi Lockwood is a poet / touring cyclist / storyteller from Boston. For the last two years she has been traveling the world by bicycle and by boat to collect 1,001 stories from people she meets about water and climate change.

Her journey began with the September 21, 2014 People’s Climate March in NYC. To date she has collected over 500 stories (audio recordings) in the USA, Fiji, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Qatar. She is working to create a map on a website where you can click on a point and listen to a story someone has told her from that place.

Devi’s writing has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Bicycling Magazine, Storyscape, BOAAT, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere — for a full publication list, see: devi-lockwood.com/read-listen.

Devi is currently based in New Hampshire and will attend the November 2016 COP22 UN climate talks in Morocco as a youth delegate for SustainUS.

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The reading is free. Handmade poetry chapbooks will be for sale at the event, with some old poems and some recent poems from the journey. Price is a sliding scale — whatever you can afford! Bring cash / spare change.

All funds raised will help Devi attend COP22, the UN climate talks in Morocco.

At the end of the event, Brian Thurber, the founder of Proud Pour, will be sampling his wine.

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Proud Pour pairs high-quality wines with local environmental restoration. Proud Pour’s Sauvignon Blanc restores 100 wild oysters per bottle. Delicious + sustainable.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

website: devi-lockwood.com
blog: onebikeoneyear.wordpress.com

On the Texture of the Air

Tonight I read three poems to a room full of climate activists in Aotearoa.

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Activism is hard work. It’s exhausting.

After listening to the poems, someone told me how re-energized she felt––poetry the counterpoint to a long day of planning direct actions for the coming year.

“I was exhausted ten minutes ago,” she said. “Now I feel lightness. What a difference.”

Poetry changes the air in a room. This much I know.

Over & over I’m reminded of the importance of art in our movements, the necessary breath.

There are as many ways to be an activist as there are people on this planet. There is value in standing with a cardboard sign in the streets. There is value in being loud––many voices speaking for a single cause. So much planning goes into a single march. I have deep respect for that work.

There is value, too, in sitting down in a silent room with a pen and a piece of paper, the quietness of writing, of meeting oneself on the page without knowing what will come next.

I move through both worlds in my activism. The one doesn’t exist for me without the other.

& there is always more to do.

It’s autumn. I have things to tell you.

Fine people of the internet:

Holy goodness, it’s been a while. I have so much to tell you! This is going to be a long post, so fasten your seat belts, friends. Pour a cup of tea. The last month has been full of life.

Autumn always makes me think of new beginnings: the start of school, most intimately (I’m two years out of university, but the feeling still lingers)––classes and lectures and rowing practice and long shadows in the afternoons. It’s a time to go internal, to breathe deeply in that slippery light.

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Kapiti Coast

 

Everything starts in blue, right?

In mid-March I ventured north from the Kapiti Coast to volunteer for three days at WOMAD New Zealand, a world music festival that takes over New Plymouth once a year. The acts were something out of this world. Tami Neilson’s Album “Don’t Be Afraid” has been on heavy rotation in my world for the last six months or so; it was divine to see her perform live. You best believe I danced my socks off.

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Seriously, go listen to her stuff right now.

And then there was DakhaBrakha, a Ukrainian quartet who wear funky hats and dedicate themselves to preserving Ukrainian folk songs. Their creative process is something like this: 1) go to the remote mountain areas in Ukraine, 2) find the oldest living women in the mountain villages, 3) ask them to sing the folk songs they know, 4) record said songs, and 5) reimagine the songs for today’s audience.

The result is AMAZING. Talk about kick-ass percussion. And of course my inner folklorist is dancing.

From Taranaki I traveled north to Auckland for a wedding. Because sometimes surprise things happen on the road.

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Speaking of which, I’d love to introduce you all to my travel buddy from here on out… Charlotte Chadwick!

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We clean up okay. This was at Charlotte’s high school bff’s wedding in Auckland. 

Charlotte is a singer-songwriter, poet, and theater-person extraordinaire (actor / director / playwright / etc.) from Aotearoa New Zealand who also happens to be an awesome ESL teacher. She’s traveled all over and tells great stories, to boot. You can listen to some of Charlotte’s music here: charlottechadwick.bandcamp.com

The journey will be solo at times, together at times, and delightfully messy, as per always. Because that is what journeys are. Journeys change. And this change is most definitely good.

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Happy Devi is happy 🙂 

From Auckland, Charlotte and I headed to Tauranga to learn some coding skills from the delightfully talented Robert O’Brien, a software developer who has generously given his time to make the next phase of the One Bike One Year journey a reality. His son, Max, has also kindly volunteered his design talents.

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Octocat, a new friend

Ya’ll know how I have been alluding to making a map on a website where you can click on a point and listen to a story from that place?

Well, it’s coming to fruition. Slowly, but yes. Things are happening. Stay tuned.

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Doing metadata research at the National Library audio archives in Wellington & geeking out over all the old audio equipment 

Then Charlotte & I started to plot a way out of Aotearoa. This wasn’t easy, because I had made a commitment not to fly.

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Friends, we tried everything.

I went back and forth for four months with a cargo ship executive who had promised me a free trip out of New Zealand. Long story short, he couldn’t make it happen. There were insurance problems. Oy.

Then we tried for super yacht / sailing positions. But it’s the wrong season to sail towards Southeast Asia. The cruise ship companies we talked to didn’t have positions that would suit our needs, but we applied anyway and heard nothing.

Then, grudgingly, we looked at flights. There was a ridiculous sale going from Wellington to Bangkok in mid-May.

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We bought the tickets.

I’ll be writing more about this soon, but weighing the value of travel and continuing to collect stories vs. the carbon footprint of a flight (or even a cargo ship trip, for that matter)… it’s sticky stuff. And stuff that it’s necessary to talk more about.

Honestly, poetry helps get me through.

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And while I do have a small place in the “family of things”, it’s my duty as an activist to tread lightly on this planet while doing the kind of listening work that has become my life.

“You only have to let the soft animal of your body / love what it loves.”

So many questions. Mary Oliver is a goddess of questions.

In other news:

The cardboard sign turned three years old! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the wrinkly piece of cardboard that has helped me collect hundreds of stories in five countries during the last 3 years. There will be a new incarnation of the cardboard sign in SE Asia, most likely with words in more than one language. Woot!

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Baby cardboard sign / day one of story collecting / Boston / April 2013

chronicles of a story listener — 1.5 years and counting

A post shared by Devi Lockwood (@devi_lockwood) on

 

the well-worn sign in all its glory #tellmeastory

A post shared by Devi Lockwood (@devi_lockwood) on

 

Speaking of multi-lingualism, my work was featured in a newspaper in Vietnam:

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And last week was pretty big: I did an interview  with the German enorm Magazin for their June issue, plus an interview & photo shoot with Bicycling Magazine in the good ol’ US of A. Not sure when that print copy will be out, but I’ll post some sneak peak photos as soon as I have them to share.

It was a windy afternoon on top of the world where Jacob Howard took the photos for Bicycling––you check out some of his other work here. The big uphill climb up beyond the Brooklyn Turbine was totally worth it.

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Big wind, big sky, bigger things ahead.

Onwards,

Devi

Pop-Up Poetry

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On Saturday I spent four hours at the Whanganui market with these wonderful women writing poems on demand & witnessing the beauty that is positive human contact.

If someone approached me with a topic, I would write a poem for them.

I wrote fifteen poems in all, on subjects ranging from dog licks to ergonomics to fear. I would do this again in a heartbeat.

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In other news, I made it into the paper in Italy!

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Plans for the next step after Aotearoa New Zealand are coming into place slowly, slowly. Here’s to figuring things out as they come.

Big love to all near and far.

xo,

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I’m Teaching Two Classes!

Hey world! I’m teaching two week-long online writing classes in March for 24 Pearl Street, the online branch of the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

It was a huge honor to be offered this position.

One course is on deep listening: http://web.fawc.org/24-pearl-street/tell-me-story-power-deep-listening

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The other is on tangible things & how our bodies interact with space: http://web.fawc.org/24-pearl-street/tangible-things-object-based-storytelling

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Both are poetry / non-fiction hybrid courses. I had a lot of fun dreaming up the syllabi and am confident that they will be two transformational weeks. Come join!

You can view the full list of the courses that 24 Pearl Street offers here: http://web.fawc.org/24-pearl-street/workshops

Big love from the Whanganui River,

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