Dear Body of Water: A Poetic Water-Harvesting Project


a poetic water-harvesting project


What body of water is dear to you?
What lake, river, ocean, creek, or aquifer supports your life on this planet?
We are all bodies of water. 

DEAR BODY OF WATER is a poetic water-harvesting project through mail-art to address bodies of water as fellow living beings on this Earth.

This collective act to address bodies of water as living beings (as in, DEAR BODY OF WATER) hopes to reframe water in the climate crisis (floods or droughts, rising sea levels or retreating lakes and rivers) less by fear than by care: growing communal interrelations.


What body of water do you love?
What body of water do you wish to protect?
What body of water will you help to represent? 

Above: 6 postcards to launch DEAR BODY OF WATER. This project grows from a body of water—Great Salt Lake—calling out to more bodies of water whose lives interconnect our planetary home.

DEAR BODY OF WATER recognizes bodies of water (rivers, oceans, aquifers, creeks, ponds, so many more) to join voices in a hopefully global chorus. Please share this invitation far-and-wide to invite participants to add more voices to the mix. Help us all listen more closely to bodies of water and watersheds that replenish our lives.

Water is treated as an economic resource, yet is animate and animating. How does water melt into our histories, memories, dreams, griefs, hopes & presence? What bodies of water are overlooked? More than water rights, can we consider rights of water? Wherever we are, the chance to hear personally about bodies of water across the planet might grow collective care.
SEND US A POSTCARD! Either pick up a readymade postcard at the UA Poetry Center (6 choices: LOCATE, REFRAME, MELT, CONSTELLATE, DECOMPOSE, INSCRIBE), or download the blank template and create your own image. Or, be resourceful: find a postcard & adapt the prompt. A mailbox for DEAR BODY OF WATER can be found inside the Poetry Center; or, if you are farther away, don’t forget to add postage and MAIL IT BACK!

This collective call-and-response started at Great Salt Lake (in Life in the Tar Seeps) and is watered from arroyos in the most biodiverse desert in North America and hopes to interconnect watersheds regionally, nationally, and internationally. 

Above: Fill in the blanks--we need your voice! 



•    PICK UP & MAIL A POSTCARD at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.
•    Live far away? Download a POSTCARD TEMPLATE (add your image of a body of water) & FIELD GUIDE (two-fold booklet: host a water party!). Or, be resourceful as you wish & adapt the prompt.
•    ADD POSTAGE: Mail your postcard!
•    POST TO INSTAGRAM: Tag the #uapoetrycenter.
•    BECOME A TRIBUTARY! Support this project by participating, teaching, collaborating, postage, or outreach.
•    Questions/contact? Email: dearbodyofwater[at]gmail[dot]com.

Want to learn more about bodies of water?
•    Find water resources in your region! 
•    Explore how watersheds interconnect in-and-beyond your region (in Tucson including the Colorado River), nationally and internationally.  
•    Join our workshop on “Writing with Water” and engage poetics of the lifeblood of our planet. 

DEAR BODY OF WATER will last over 2023-2024. Participate and stay tuned! Share your beloved bodies of water to grow care of the water flowing through all of us, interconnecting pasts and futures of our shared planetary home. Add your voice to the chorus of water.

The University of Arizona Poetry Center has printed 6,000 pre-addressed postcards to join a collective poem in hopes of inspiring more storytellers of the climate crisis to cultivate care for water & watersheds. This project launched in Tucson at the UA Poetry Center’s Summer Social at Hotel Congress’ Century Room near the seasonally dry Santa Cruz River on August 23, 2023. DEAR BODY OF WATER flows from Gretchen Henderson’s 2023-2024 community workshops on Relational Ecologies: Writing with a More-than-Human-World, including “Writing with Water: Finding Form in a Thirsty World.” For more information, visit the launch invitation. More to come.


On behalf of water everywhere.