The Fair Trade pieces exist out of fierce and eternal First Nations resistance and as well as rivers and mountains of trust and passionate pragmatism.
‘Take poetry, which possesses such foggy borders of definition. Poetry is ‘language’s excess’, which ‘gives way to a new common ground of understanding … the creation of a new world’.’
–Toyah Webb, Whose Futures, Economic and Social Research Aotearoa, 2020, p.20
By anchoring the project in relationality, Fair Trade’s foundation is about how we connect with each other and what we are prepared, as First Nation artists, to offer and receive. During the initial six setup-zooms the emphasis of those meetings wasn’t about outcomes. Rather, the focus was about (re)generating poetic First Nations bonds – solidarity, consensus, family, land, oceans, the moon, remembering, dreaming, sharing, opening, mourning, respect, celebrating, finding, losing, healing and more healing.
Reciprocity beats at the heart of Fair Trade – collaborating to write other worlds.
My intention has been for Fair Trade to be as anti-deadline as possible and to actively participate in more-beginnings of a decolonisation of poetry, whereby each poet wrote separately whilst writing together, from their own sense of place and finishing with their own ends, when the time was right for them.
Fair Trade is an opportunity to imagine new-old, radical poetic forms, to write in undefined ways which call on you, the reader, to meet them half way.
Beyond Fair Trade continuing as a part of Red Room’s annual Poetry Month, my hope is that one day the collaborating paired poets will be together way beyond the page – standing side by side on each other’s ancestral lands – exchanging and sharing – exactly as our ancestors did.