Brenna Quinlan reflects on her poem 'The Big Stuff' for POEM FOREST 2022.

In my illustration work I dive into the ‘big stuff’ – that is, the important issues of our times, like climate change, social justice and biodiversity loss. It’s a challenge to face these issues head on every day and still remain hopeful. I also have lots of people tell me that sometimes they lose hope, that the issues seem too big, too out of their control, and that they feel helpless. That’s why I also create images like this visual poem. To give us the strength to face the big stuff, we need a discussion around how to face those things. Having feelings around the big issues is all a part of the process, and we can accept those feelings and be grateful for the learnings that come from them.

Sometimes I make images like this one for myself, and sometimes I make them for others. This image is for me and for you, and I hope it brings you comfort. We can all make the world a better place through our daily actions, and activism is something that each and every one of us can partake in. An important part of activism is looking after ourselves while we do our thing so that we can stick it out for the long term and feel good while we’re doing it.