Bees: Art and Activism

By: Jill McKenna Reed
http://www.beethinking.com

Jill McKenna Reed is a poet, writing instructor, and beekeeper in Portland, Oregon. She co-owner of Bee Thinking, a beekeeping…

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wingedWinged: New Writing on Bees is a modern literary anthology collecting essays, poetry, and fiction speaking to this moment in time, as honeybees reach an apex of peril. In the collection, 36 new and established writers explore the timeless but currently uncertain relationship between humans and honeybees. It is a considered artistic response to the increasing fragility of our food supply and the astounding pollinators we depend upon.

Winged was born of a challenge to turn art into activism after approximately 50,000 bumblebees were killed by pesticides in a parking lot in Oregon in 2013. Since bumblebees live in colonies of around 300 bees, the loss was particularly enormous. My co-editor Melissa approached me to aid in curating a selection of markedly different voices all speaking to, or inspired by, the same subject: bees. Bees have been vital symbols and themes for artists and writers for thousands of years. We carefully considered what the world might be like, specifically for artists, should pollinator decline continue at a rapid rate.

All proceeds from the sale of Winged are being donated to pollinator conservation efforts including: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Protection, Bees for Development, and Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary.

Winged can be purchased in-store or online at:
 www.beethinking.com
www.Powells.com

For more information, wholesale inquiries, and online sales visit www.wingedbook.com.


A SACRAMENT

Become that high priest,
the bee. Drone your way
from one fragrant
temple to another, nosing
into each altar. Drink
what’s divine—
and while you’re there,
let some of the sacred
cling to your limbs.
Wherever you go
leave a small trail
of its golden crumbs.

In your wake
the world unfolds
its rapture, the fruit
of its blooming.
Rooms in your house
fill with that sweetness
your body both
makes and eats.

 —Paulann Petersen  from  A Bride of Narrow Escape,
Cloudbank Books, 2006