Poetry X Hunger, a global initiative that uses the arts to bring attention to world hunger, is accepting original poetry submissions to honor this year’s World Food Day.
Each year, World Food Day recognizes the food movement while also calling for innovation to better the food system. This year’s theme, “Our Actions Are Our Future,” focuses on the ways stakeholders can prioritize the future of the global food system in their vision for a better life.
Founder of Poetry X Hunger Hiram Larew tells Food Tank that “A better life, as reflected in the World Food Day theme, focuses on a life free of hunger, malnutrition and, overall, want. The theme is a call to action for any and all to work towards such a World.”
Larew founded Poetry X Hunger in 2017 on the belief that poetry has the power to ignite change and fight hunger. The initiative encourages poets to write about their experiences with hunger and visions for a world free from hunger and publishes these poems on their website. Poems collected by the initiative have previously been showcased by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Capital Area Food Bank, End Hunger UK, the Alliance to End Hunger, and more. Larew hopes that his initiative brings a more intentional, emotional, and powerful approach to the anti-hunger movement.
This year, Poetry X Hunger is collaborating with the FAO, the Capital Area Food Bank, and poet Rebecca Roach. The call for submissions for World Food Day hopes to draw poetry that is “compelling, moving, honest, hard-hitting, and heart-hitting,” Larew says.
The initiative welcomes voices from all perspectives and is accepting poems from anyone in Canada or the United States who is 18 years and older. Poetry X Hunger encourages writers to address themes of food security, hunger, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and the roles of food heroes, heroines, and other courageous folks.
Submitted work will have the opportunity to appear on the Poetry X Hunger website, in FAO newsletters, and other campaigns throughout the week of World Food Day. To have the greatest impact, Larew tells Food Tank that selected poems will be shared with policymakers, teachers, anti-hunger leaders, and community groups to emphasize that “everyone can use poetry to speak [and act against] hunger.” For each poem submitted, Roach will also sponsor the planting of 10 tree seedlings around the world.
“Over the years, poetry has been used to change people’s hearts and minds about other social causes—homelessness, immigration, racial divides, poverty, and the like,” Larew tells Food Tank “Poetry X Hunger wants to make sure that poetry is a tool in the anti-hunger advocate’s toolkit as she works to prevent and end hunger.”
Poetry X Hunger is accepting poems until midnight on September 10, 2021. Writers interested in submitting can learn more here.