Festival of the Trees returns to Via Negativa on July 1

The world’s longest-running — and probably only — blog carnival devoted to all things arboreal, the Festival of the Trees, turns five next month. Its very first edition appeared on July 1, 2006 right here at Via Negativa, so it seemed fitting to bring it back for edition #61. The theme is open, but I’m especially interested in new discoveries about trees and forests, either of a scientific or personal nature.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a blog carnival, think of it as a homeless links blog which crashes on a different blog-couch every month. Or as my FOTT co-conspirator Jade Blackwater puts it (see What’s a Blog Carnival?):

A blog carnival is a recurring, theme-driven publication which congregates content from many sources in one place online.

A single issue of a blog carnival reads just like a great big blog post filled with links to many other blog posts (or photo galleries, or videos, etc.) that talk about the same subject.

The purpose of a blog carnival is to engage with the world wide community to celebrate subjects of common interest (in our case, trees and forests).

So contributors post material on their own blogs or websites and send the links to the host of the upcoming edition. For FOTT #61, email your article permalinks to me: bontasaurus (at) yahoo (dot) com, and be sure to put “Festival of the Trees” in the subject line so I’ll know it’s not spam. The deadline is June 30.

We have much more information about the Festival at our coordinating site, but I think the easiest way to grasp the concept is to browse some of the past editions, started with the most recent edition at Rubies in Crystal. This was Brenda Clews’ first time hosting, and she did something very ambitious: ask participants “to record an engagement with a tree or trees, preferably in video, but any form. To talk to the trees and bring back what transpired.” The response was impressive, and included 12 videos. (Note that video embedding is really just a fancy form of linking, and is therefore encouraged in blog carnivals.) Check it out.

I didn’t get around to making a video in time for Brenda’s edition, I’m sorry to say, but I was so impressed by a poem she reprinted from Dick Jones’ blog, I decided to ask Dick if I could make a video for it. He not only agreed, but recorded a reading for me to incorporate. I’ll be sharing this on Moving Poems next week, but here it is for those who can’t wait. (Note that HD is off by default; click on “HD” in the lower right corner if your internet speed supports it.) To read the text of the poem, refer to Brenda’s post.


Watch at Vimeo.

5 Comments


  1. Thanks, Dave, I enjoyed receiving links to videos and photographs and poetry through the month, each like a little gift, and composing the essay, which I did through a whole night, was fun too. For a couple of poets, this was their first foray into video poetry, winged, riffed, impromtu, and posted publicly, which delighted me. I’d be happy to host again at some time in the future.

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  2. You know, Dave, I just realized something about FOTT, and don’t know if it’s what everyone is most comfortable with or not. Firstly, and not an issue, there were no comments of any kind on my video, so, seriously I thought it must be a really bad video and felt kind of ashamed that that was all I had to offer (& it was late, too). Ok, that’s my stuff. But then I checked comments on all links in my post for responses from readers of FOTT, and found none, zero (I looked at video channels & posts for dates). How odd, I thought. So it’s a posting community only, and not a commenting community. As I said, I don’t know if this is comfortable for this group, though if I think back to when I did send a link that there were no responses did cause me to stop sending links because I thought no-one liked my work, so I wonder if others have had this experience, too, and have similarly not been regular participants.

    Meaning, maybe, consider this aspect, the commenting one (btw, my video, at Vimeo, which I posted before I got the higher res one up at YT, did receive about 50 views, so I know the community is active, so I know it’s not that).

    Would it be worth making a suggestion in future Festivals to leave comments for the various submitters, if inspired… I suspect the community would be nourished by this, and develop more of a following that it even has now.

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    1. That is a problem with blog carnivals generally, I find. I do it myself: get into the rhythm of clicking on links and reading the posts (skimming the few that don’t interest me as much) and clicking back. Like a lot of people, I tend only to comment on the blogs of people I have a prior relationship with, and even then generally only when I have something to say. I don’t view commenting as obligatory, and certainly don’t mind when my own posts receive few or none. I do agree that it would make the Festival more popular and more enjoyable if people commented more often, but I’m not sure how to encourage that. Feel free to email me and Jade if you have any suggestions of concrete steps we could take to make it more social. I’ll be the first to admit I suck at fostering community spirit.

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  3. I liked that video–nice combination, and I love it that you went back to the beech eyes.

    I should have sent a link to the qarrtsiluni tree poem from you-and-Beth’s issue to the last FOTT… Shall do something. I finally managed to get my 2009 Cambodia and Thailand pictures off a big defective memory card, so maybe I’ll do a tree post. Have some marvelous ones…

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