Illustration: Daniela Molnar
In August 2013, Time magazine asked readers to imagine a world without bees. Winged takes a different approach, inviting writers and readers to fully imagine the world with bees.
Since early 2006, beekeepers and conservationists in the United States and abroad have been alarmed by unprecedented honey bee hive abandonments due to a complex phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). There is no single cause of this disturbing trend, no “smoking gun” to make resolution a straightforward job. Rather, there are many factors, some more immediately actionable than others.
Research on CCD continues to point to the effects of industrial agriculture. In addition to destroying habitat for wild bees, wide swathes of single-crop agricultural fields reduce the variety of forage available to honey bees and other bee pollinators. Meanwhile, the combination of herbicide, fungicide, and pesticide residues in the soil creates new compounds whose long-term effects on bees and humans are unknown. U.S. citizens are now pushing for government action to ban the use of harmful agricultural chemicals already banned in Europe and elsewhere, particularly a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.
The honey bee is just one of many pollinators upon whom we depend for food, plant life, and the health of our planet. Honey bees and other pollinators urgently need a creative, human response to CCD and population loss. Winged is part of that creative response. Great writing has the power to transform, unite, and empower by engaging the reader at an emotional level. This anthology complements and enhances the important work of conservation activists, and seeks to inspire a new generation of readers to join the call to action.
As the honey bee’s power comes from her belonging to the hive, so this book’s strength comes from the collective impact of new and emerging writers, and the interaction of a diverse array of readers.
Una apis, nulla apis. “One bee is no bee.” A remarkable team of talented artists, writers, and thinkers have contributed to this project. Heartfelt gratitude to: Megan Newell Graphic Design, Daniel Bowman, Jr, David Jacobsen, Daniela Molnar, Elizabeth Myhr, Evan P. Schneider, and Joanna Vance.
Proceeds from book sales benefitted the following non-profits, supporting their efforts in pollinator conservation, development, and education:
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Protection
Bees for Development
Spikenard Farm Honey Bee Sanctuary.
Portland-based poets Melissa Reeser Poulin and Jill McKenna Reed are co-editors of Winged. Poulin conceived of Winged after the loss of over 50,000 bumble bees due to pesticide usage in Wilsonville, Oregon in June 2013. Wanting to create a response to the drastic, ongoing decline of pollinators, Poulin paired with Reed, a beekeeper and co-owner of Bee Thinking in Portland.
An award-winning poet and writer, Melissa has served as managing editor of Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac, the best-selling literary periodical for the practical cyclist. After a year apprenticing and co-managing organic farms, Melissa earned her MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University. Her work appears in many publications, including basalt, Calyx Journal, Catamaran Literary Journal, Ruminate and Water~Stone Review.