Monthly Archives: July 2013

Flora and Fauna, by Peter Street

Peter Street, Writing for Peace AdvisePeter Street’s latest poetry collection, Listening to the Dark, explores war through the point-of-view of wildflowers.

You may not be surprised to learn the assassins of this war are Convolvulus Arvensis (field bindweed), but if you were pleased to see bright yellow blossoms splattered across the neighboring pastures, you may find the true nature of Buttercups Ranunculus acris deeply shocking.




Copperas Lane, Haigh Hall, Wigan, England, 2012

“Plant geneticists are finding that plants can communicate with each other as well as with insects by coded gas exhalations.”
~James Donahue – Living Universe


Rumex obtusifolius

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, dock leaves Rumex obtusifolius

Rumex obtusifolius (dock leaves)

Dock Leaves

Dozens of docks
making their way down
through fields
to a meeting place

in the front meadow. Stop
wave and cheer

buttercups and hemlocks
leading lines of wild flowers
down Copperas Lane

towards Haigh Hall
where regiments
of dandelion seeds
are parachuting in……
Taraxacum officinale

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, Taraxacum official (dandelion)

Taraxacum official (dandelion)

First To Speak

for all dandelions

I am a dandelion

Yes, one of those who feel
we have more to offer
than this tarmac they like
so much.

It’s why I’m here
to see about a peace deal,
their last chance – so to say

before it gets really serious.
Ok, mistakes have been
on both sides, but while

they are trying to kill us all …..

well, it’s like this:
we are a big family
with lots of friends

who are also losing patience.
This is their last chance

Urtica dioica

Open Floor

for All Stinging Nettles

Honest we have tried
our very best to keep out
of their way

we know and respect
how much they like to be in charge
At first we tried hiding
behind old farm machinery

then it was round the back
of rundown sheds
and in dark corners
but it somehow

never quite seemed enough

So we thought it might
now this is only a suggestion
might be worth getting together

call it a new beginning
with dock leaf as a go between.
What do you think?
Ranunculus acris




Playtime is over

It’s finally come down
to giving them a taste

of who we really are

their sheep and cattle
took notice when we first
burned their tongues
not forgetting their stomachs

they now leave us alone

No it’s gone way past anything
called reasonable
we need to act now before
they destroy us all

so, who will second this motion

for all of our roots
from all of our families
to creep out of sight

just below the
surface of this world
and take over?
Plantago major



Please, listen before you go
getting here has taken
millions of years –
we cannot throw that away.

This is not who we are,
we are the chosen ones
healers – not warmongers

you must say no to this motion.

Confusion is getting around
some of the grasses
are sharpening their blades

the hemlocks are being loaded
with more and more poisons
this is getting out of hand

please don’t second this motion
we are better than this

let’s give them one last chance
Wishful Thinkers
Bellis perennis


to all lawn daisies

We will stand up
and be counted. Yes,
all the daisies in all the world
are making their way here

to this spot crowding this lawn
before Wigan
here at the side of
Banks Street Chapel

where in our hundreds –
thousands maybe we will say
no to war.  If Bolton is difficult

then wherever you are
stand up and be counted
and say no to this madness!
Convolvulus arvensis 

Field Bindweed


You buttercups are all the same
we know you hate
all two hundred and fifty
of our family.

Jealous are we?

Because no one would suspect
who we are and what we do –
it’s our beauty you know

from being in the lanes
relaxed, frightened of no one –
this goads you doesn’t it

having to ask us for help

we want to hear it come on
admit – you cannot do
what we do

what we have always done:

your dirty work in choking
the slow death out of all those
you despise because they are

So who is it this time
daises, dandelions, streams
fences who or what?
Symphytum officinale

Comfrey (nip-bone)

Aye many a time
I bandaged myself
around their broken bones

after they had been clog
or bare knuckle fighting
all for  the prize of a crust

no myself and my family
are menders of hurt
we do not do war

maybe yourselves need
some bandaging
why don’t you come

and see us sometime
we are always here
and there’s no charge
Centaurea cyanus


blank spacefor Sue Bell

We gave them blue
as much as they wanted
free for ever with no contracts

then in a wisdom we didn’t understand
they tried to poison or burn us out

but going to war is not who
we are maybe it’s about
starting again another go.

Would showing them
a world without colour help?

We could get some friends round
for a fancy knees up
but with no colour and no fun

because that’s how it would be

no for us cornflowers
war is never an option
Fallopia japonica

Japanese knotweed

No colours no fancy knees up
You’ll have us all crying
we’re talking big boys
stuff now

that’s higher in the scheme
of everything  this is what we do
it’s us or them

Look they have been here
in a flicker of time
and already trying

their best to destroy themselves
and us this is survival
so let’s help them on their way

see we can be generous
and yes
we are going to war
Digitalis purpurea


Hello! Is anyone listening?

Yes, I’m a volunteer steward
on this my first conference
so can you all please calm down

and tell me how else

to get your attention
and yes, I’m sorry
if ringing my bells
nearly burst your eardrums

but how else am I going to get you
all heading down Copperas Lane
in single file
behind the hemlocks?
Epilobium angustifolium

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb)

Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb)

Rosebay willowherb (Pioneer species)

Carry on kid bout time
wi had sum yung blood
at these things

bells don’t bother us
in fact nowt at all
bothers us willow herb

bar snotty noses
down in that Haigh Hall
meadow wonting war

wiv sin it dun it
survivd it weer not calld
fireweed fa nowt ya know

wars got us noweer
wots lackin  here
is sum common sense

down theer fa dancin
up here fa thinkin
war indeed

they wont their arses kickin’
weer off wam
is anyone cumin?
Carex arenaria 

Sand Sedge

Saying No To The Icebergs

Like all families we have fought

for all our sakes
that is now behind us
there’s an army washing towards us

waves of them
from their land of ice and water
a taster they’re calling it

in case it’s more than that
like wanting to take back

we are not responsible for this

but we have to be ready –
otherwise we will all
be washed away

none of us will survive.
This where our fight really starts
come and stand with us
Listening To The Dark, by Peter StreetPeter Street’s new collection, “Listening To The Dark”, was just released by Penniless Press Publications.  In his latest collection, Peter reflects on the arguments for/against a war with the humans and their ignorance regarding global warming. Says Peter, “This sixth collection covers my travels in Iceland, my life in and around the north west U.K., and the latest flora and fauna.”

Click here to order a copy of “Listening to the Dark” by Peter Street.

Peter Street, Writing for Peace Adviser

In Peter Street’s new ebook, “Rite of Passage”, published by Natterjack, he writes about his experiences as a grave-digger.

“Grave-digging was hazardous work in the1960s. There was very little machinery: graves were still largely dug by spade. There were no Health-and-Safety rules. Opening up a grave, after however many years, to inter a new member of the family, was anything but healthy or safe.” ~Peter Street

Click here to purchase a copy of “Rite of Passage” by Peter Street.

About Writing for Peace Adviser, Peter Street

Peter Street, Writing for Peace Advisor

Peter Street, National and International Poet, was born in Wigan in 1948. He is a qualified Arborist and has previously worked as a forester, a Mediterranean chef, and gravedigger/exhumer. Street has published five previous poetry collections. His first, Out Of The Fire (spike books) was nominated for the 1993 Forward prize. The same year, I.T.V. television broadcast a twelve minutes Remembrance Sunday Special about his time as a war poet during the Bosnian/Croatian conflict. Learn more about Peter Street here.

Writing for Peace News

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest is officially open! Deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Check out our complete guidelines here.

Our 2013 contest reached students in 21 countries, we hope to double the number of entries in 2014. (Meet our 2013 winners here!) Help us spread the word to schools across the globe. Email to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students.

Call for Submissions!

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here. Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.


Blood and Bone, by Mary Carroll-Hackett

In memory of Trayvon Martin

Blood and Bone

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

Thirty minutes ago, five minutes after the Not Guilty verdict was announced in the trial in which George Zimmerman was charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, my oldest son J texted me to let me know when he would be coming home tonight, signing off with Love you, Mom. That’s when I started to cry.

Among much other excellent world-saving work, Writing for Peace is exploring Women’s Rights and Gun Violence.

Tonight is about both.

These are not intellectual pursuits. These are blood and bone issues, central to survival for each of us. The current state of our culture and government is literally ripping the precious flesh of who we are as a species, who we should be sharing this planet with other species.

The rights of mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, are being reduced to political weaponry, weapons of a theocracy of fear.

Our children are dying.

That’s what we should fear.

Women will die.

Your sister. Your cousin. Your daughter. Bleeding out on a table somewhere as a result of an unsafe now-illegal medical procedure that’s nobody’s business but her own.

My mama always said, “Your rights end where another person’s rights begin.”

Right to life also applies to a woman’s right to decisions about her own body. It applies to second graders feeling safe in their classrooms. It applies to young women and men having the education and guidance to make smart birth control decisions before bringing more hungry babies into this world. And it applies to all of us mamas, half asleep, but listening for our teenage and young adult sons to come back in through that door safely.

These are not just political concepts to be argued over, filibustered, parlayed for profit and power. These are blood and bone realities.

Trayvon’s mama will replay her own version of bullet to bone again and again in her mind. And she will keep listening for that door to open, y’all. Forever, she will be listening.

Love you, Mom.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace AdviserMary Carroll-Hackett earned an MFA in Literature and Writing from Bennington College in June 2003. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in more than a hundred journals including Carolina Quarterly, Clackamas Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, The Potomac, Reed, Superstition Review, Drunken Boat and The Prose-Poem Project, among others. Her awards include being named a North Carolina Blumenthal Writer and winner of the Willamette Award for Fiction. She had an O Henry Recommended recognition for her story “Placing,” and her collection of poems, The Real Politics of Lipstick, won the 2010 annual poetry competition by Slipstream. Her chapbook Animal Soul, is forthcoming this year from Kattywompus Press. She has taught writing for nearly twenty years, and in 2003, founded the Creative Writing programs, undergraduate and graduate, at Longwood University in Farmville, VA, serving as Program Director of those programs until Fall 2011. She also teaches writing workshops on Writing Grief and Loss, Writing the Body, and Writing the Earth in partnership with The Porches Writers Retreat in Virginia, and will be offering writing workshops also for the foundation Little Pink Houses of Hope, a charity offering beach treats for breast cancer patients and their families. She was also recently invited to participate in Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know, an international project curated by Annette Marie Hyder, celebrating the diversity of feminism found throughout the world. Mary founded and has edited for the last nine years The Dos Passos Review, Briery Creek Press, and The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry. Most recently, she co-founded and launched SPACES, an innovative online magazine of art and literature, featuring videos of writers reading. Mary is currently at work on a collection of personal essays.

Learn more about Mary Carroll-Hackett here.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.



Writing for Peace News, July 2013

We abuse the landWe abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

~ Aldo Leopold

Photo by Pd Lietz, Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence


Announcing 2014 Young Writers Contest Judges

Writing for Peace gratefully acknowledges our 2014 judges panel, three accomplished writers who have not only achieved excellence in their respective fields, but are also quick to volunteer their time where their efforts will encourage, inspire, and guide young writers.

Robin Black, 2014 Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest Fiction Judge

Photo © Marion Ettlinger

Robin Black (fiction), author of the story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, published by Random House in 2010 to international acclaim by publications such as O. Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Irish Times and more. Robin’s stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The New York Times Magazine. Learn more about Robin Black here.


Dinty W. Moore, Writing for Peace AdviserDinty W. Moore (Nonfiction) is author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as thememoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, among numerous other venues. Learn more about Dinty W. Moore here.

 David mason, 2014 Writing for Peace Young Writers Poetry Contest JudgeDavid Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, his memoir, News from the Village, appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. Learn more about David Mason here.

 Young Writers Contest Guidelines are posted here.

Call for Submissions!

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here. Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

Welcoming Two New Advisers!

Writing for Peace is thrilled to welcome two new members to our esteemed Advisory Panel. Watch for their posts on our blog!
Phyllis Barber, 2013 Nonfiction JudgePhyllis Barber is the author of seven books (a novel about the building of the Hoover Dam, two books of short stories, two children’s books, and two memoirs, one of which, How I Got Cultured, won the Associated Writers and Writing Program Award for Creative Nonfiction in 1991). Her latest book, Gentle Fire: A Spiritual Odyssey is due out from Quest Books in May, 2014. It is a collection of essays based on her travels to a variety of spiritual practices, both traditional and non-traditional, in an attempt to find the Spirit that dwells in all people to one degree or another. Her desire is to help create harmony and understanding between people of seemingly opposing ideas and sensibilities. She has taught creative writing for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program for 19 years, and is currently residing in Park City, Utah, where she writes, edits, and critiques manuscripts for other writers. Learn more about Phyllis here.
Pamela Olson, Writing for Peace AdviserPamela Olson grew up in small town in Oklahoma and studied physics and political science at Stanford University. She lived in Ramallah for two years, during which she served as head writer and editor for the Palestine Monitor and as foreign press coordinator for Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi’s 2005 presidential campaign. She wrote an award-winning book about those experiences called Fast Times in Palestine.

In January of 2006 she moved to Washington, D.C., and worked at a Defense Department think tank to try to bring what she had learned to the halls of power — an educational but disillusioning experience. She is currently working on a sequel to Fast Times in Palestine called Palestine, DC. Learn more about Pamela Olson here.

2013 Young Writers Contest Winners

Winners for our 2013 Young Writers Contest were announced on May 1st. Entries came in from 21 different countries. Meet all our winners here!

Support Writing for Peace!

Last year we reached students in 21 countries, this year we hope to double the number of entries. Help us spread the word about Writing for Peace to schools across the globe!

Contact us at to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students!

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.