Paws Healing The Earth Book Launch
“…this anthology feels as much like a group prayer as it does like a book.” ~ Melissa Studdard
Paws Healing The Earth (poetry anthology) was officially launched on April 20th, 2021, in an online event premiered on YouTube hosted by River Paw Press.
The book launch was attended by honored guests and Paws Healing The Earth contributors: Christopher Merrill, Lee Upton, Melissa Studdard, William O’Daly, Xánath Caraza , Amata Natasha Goldie, and the editor of the anthology Kalpna Singh-Chitnis. The event was emceed by River Paw Press team members Nirvan Chitnis and Vishwa Chitnis.
The chief guest, Christopher Merrill, officially launched the book by unveiling the print copy of Paws Healing The Earth, which came wrapped in a ceremonial Indian cloth. The image of Troy, the Lhasa Apso, was hand-printed on the fabric by IWP, The University of Iowa (Between the Lines) alumna, and fashion model Vishwa Chitnis to honor the canine, who inspired the anthology.
The editor of Paws Healing The Earth, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis, shared the story behind Paws Healing The Earth and the core belief of River Paw Press.
The guests of honor congratulated the contributing poets and the editor of Paws Healing The Earth in their speech and read their personal statements and poems from the collection as a tribute to all animals and wildlife.
“…it seems to me that Paws Healing The Earth is an effort by poets from everywhere to give us a sense of how to be a part of the Search Party (of W.S. Merwin’s lost dog ), how to find that kind of meaning that in its way can help us to heal the earth.” ~ Christopher Merrill
Reflecting on Paws Healing The Earth, poet Melissa Studdard said that “…this anthology feels as much like a group prayer as it does like a book.”She also mentioned how poets in their language can voice the concerns of animals and their threatened existence.
“…animals teach us everything we seek to be as humans. Their presence is a gift of unconditional love, loyalty, compassion, devotion, joy, and peace.” ~ Amata Natasha Goldie
Christopher Merrill read an important piece in which he spoke of the time he spent at W.S. Merwin‘s ranch in Maui. He read his poem, “Search Party,” that Merwin wrote after one of his dogs was kidnapped on the island –
“By now I know most of the faces
that will appear beside me as
long as there are still images
I know at last what I would choose
the next time if there ever was
a time again I know the days
that open in the dark like this
I do not know where Maoli is…” ~W.S. Merwin
He added that “…it seems to me that Paws Healing The Earth is an effort by poets from everywhere to give us a sense of how to be a part of the search party, how to find that kind of meaning that in its way can help us to heal the earth.”
Lee Upton said that she was honored to be a part of the project with so many remarkable poets. She also expressed her concerns about animals imperiled through deforestation, wildfire, climate change, and many different threats. Moreover, how animals brought healing during the pandemic.
“I hope that the fallen leaves, Mayan Gods and Goddesses, the wind, the hummingbird, and the liquid serpent of jade accompany your steps on every one of these poems in Paws Healing the Earth.” ~ Xánath Caraza
William O’Daly read a piece about how he related to animals when he was a child, and now he thinks it is necessary to celebrate them.
Australian poet Amata Natasha Goldie reminded that “…animals teach us everything we seek to be as humans. Their presence is a gift of unconditional love, loyalty, compassion, devotion, joy, and peace.” Amata also mentioned herself as the caretaker of animals she rescues from the shelter, mostly old animals with health issues.
Xánath Caraza honored all sacred animals and their spirit in her poetry. She talked about animals in cultural contexts, exploring her Mayan and Aztec roots in East Mexico. At the end of her speech, she said a prayer – “I hope that the fallen leaves, Mayan Gods and Goddesses, the wind, the hummingbird, and the liquid serpent of jade accompany your steps on every one of these poems in Paws Healing the Earth.”
In the second half of the event, the honored guests read their poems from the anthology evoking deep emotions and empathy for the animal world. Kalpna Singh-Chitnis read Robert Pinsky‘s poem “Door,” featured in Paws Healing The Earth, to honor and express her gratitude to the two terms US poet laureate for supporting the book. She also read the poem “The Mockingbird” (a traditional Acoma Pueblo song) translated by Jennifer Reeser to say a special thanks to the poet and honor her native roots. Vishwa Chitnis and Nirvan Chitnis read two poems from the anthology to celebrate their rescued dog Hachi and a Red Fox Family.
“…O kitty, If the doors
Of perception were cleansed
All things would appear as they are,
Infinite. Come in, darling, drowse
Comfortably near my feet…” ~Robert Pinsky
At the end of the ceremony, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis read her two poems: “Epiphany,” dedicated to her family dog, Troy, the inspiration behind the book, and the title poem of the anthology “Paws Healing The Earth,” in which she discovers her animal-selves and forest as her home.
More than a poetry anthology Paws Healing The Earth, is a modest effort to raise awareness about animal rights. The contributing poets, through their poems, discover the sacredness of our natural environment and honor all the animals who share the planet with us.
Paws Healing The Earth features seventy-five animal poems by forty-four new and established poets from across the world. The book is available on major online book retailers internationally and at the official website of River Paw Press.
Through Paws Healing The Earth, River Paw Press wants to give back to the community to help animals. For information on charitable donations, please contact River Paw Press.
“For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.”