Martin Kiszko talks about his passion in Poetry and Environmentalism.

How did you become passionate about the topic? 

As a child, I loved butterflies and birds, summers spent in meadows and woods especially with my father – who would tell stories about the forests, marshes, rivers and fields of his East European homeland.

As a young man I pursued my love of music and became a composer of music for natural history films.  I composed 160 wildlife film scores and worked with environmentalists Sir David Attenborough, Desmond Morris, and my mentor Edward Williams who composed the music for Life on Earth – the first major David Attenborough natural history series. My green journey really began by co-producing the Life on Earth album.

However it wasn’t until much later whilst working on a film soundtrack, that the words Green Poems for a Blue Planet flashed into my head. I had an intuition that those words were significant and they became my Green Poems for a Blue Planet book, show and campaign ‘Saving the Planet through the Power of Poetry.’

Do you think the arts and the environment are closely related?

Nature has always inspired artists to create through ritual, dance, painting, music and words. Think of the English Romantic poets in the late 18th and early 19th century who explored the countryside and reflected on nature. When city dwellers read their poetry – they too began to appreciate the wonders of nature and were challenged to explore wilderness for themselves.

So, poetry especially is a powerful communicator can distil a wealth of information, thoughts, insights and emotions. It can have both the immediacy and impact of a short snappy phone text or the few lines you’d scribble on a postcard – and people will remember it!  . This is why I believe that poetry is the perfect medium to enable audiences to understand the issues that face our planet.


Do you think that this topic will be more widely adopted in music and poetry?

Of course.  And there should be many more love poems and love songs about our planet! This is the only way hearts will be changed. Do you love your partner, your parents, your child, your cat, your dog? You know what that emotional connection feels like. That’s the same connection we must have with the planet. Our relationship with nature must be reframed with a genuine commitment to love our planet. The poet William Wordsworth said, ‘Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.’ By immersing ourselves in a love for nature, true relationship reciprocation can be rebuilt: that which has sustained us should be rightfully sustained by us. In the words of the conservationist Grey Owl: ‘Remember you belong to nature, not it to you.’


What is your personal favourite “green” poem and what is it about?

I don’t have a favourite! But I like many of the nature poems written by Native Americans, the English Romantic poets and Celtic poems. In all those cultures poets see humankind as inseparable from nature. This is what I aim to communicate through my own poetry. One of my own favourites is Whose Place is it Anyway? Here’s the final stanza:

‘Why don’t we remember those with whom we share Earth?

And why don’t we honour and value their true worth?

We wouldn’t want those best friends to simply vanish without trace,

So let’s work together and restore their rightful place.’


How does the audience respond to the cause you are advocating during your performances?

 I’ve performed at schools, theatres, festivals, corporate events and award ceremonies from LA to India, China to Malta and from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to next in Dubai! My show, workshops and exhibition have encouraged audiences to use poetry as a mouthpiece for communicating environmental issues.

In London, school girls devised their own green poetry performances; children at a Bristol school produced a collection of green poetry; young people in Devon wrote eco-poetry on plastics and litter and then exhibited their work as a gallery exhibition. Four children in Malta published their own book of environmental poetry.

I’ve also used street poetry which has been successful in engaging people. As Poet in Residence for Bristol European Green Capital 2015, I dressed as a medieval poet and had a large red and white warning road sign at the side of me: DANGER – POET AT WORK. After that – there’s no way the listener could forget the performance and green message!


What do you think are the best ways to engage people to care about the climate and its resources?

Humour! Although the state of the planet is not a laughing matter – there is ample room for the eco-chuckle. Even though the content of my Green Poems for a Blue Planet book, workshop and show has a serious message – the garments they wear are a smirk, a smile, entertainment and laughter.

My environmental campaigning simply sows the seed of future ‘greenies’ and is a much needed prompt for our current generation!

Here’s hoping we can all collaborate on this journey to create awareness, effect change and have some green laughs on the way as we save the planet through the power of poetry!

See Martin at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, 4-9 February 2020.

Martin Kiszko: Green Poems for a Blue Planet

Saturday 08 February, 10:00 – 11:00


Poetry is a great way to get people talking and thinking! From disappearing tigers to lost whales and from football to “poo power”, this performance has it all, and Martin Kiszko, the UK’s Green Poet says, “I hope this show will provoke a thought, raise a smile, start a conversation, spark an idea, turn on a few ‘green lights’ and spur us into action.”

Come and be inspired by Martin’s verse for the earth!

Age Group: 8+

Martin is also part of this panel session:

Five Fun Ways to Save the World! With Martin Kiszko, BOSH!, Jeannie Baker, & Harry and Chris

Friday 07 February, 14:00 – 15:15

How are we going to protect the environment for future generations?

In this lively family-friendly event, international authors share their ideas for long-term solutions that will make the world of tomorrow one we want to live in.

Martin Kiszko is the “UK’s Green poet”, whose books Green Poems for a Blue Planet and Verse for the Earth explore what it means to be green and how to save the planet through the power of poetry!

Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, aka BOSH!, are vegan YouTube sensations whose new book teaches how to “save the planet and feel amazing”.

Jeannie Baker, the superstar of Australian children’s literature, discusses the environmental themes of her beloved books and presents her short film Where the Forest Meets the Sea.

Poet Harry Baker and musician Chris Read, aka Harry and Chris, will bring their optimistic comedy-rap-jazz take on conservation, with songs of hope for the planet.

Martin Kiszko: Green Poems for a Blue Planet

Five Fun Ways to Save the World! With Martin Kiszko, BOSH!, Jeannie Baker, & Harry and Chris