Whether it be a poem or a report on the latest research in the 'cryosphere' - we are supporting writers from diverse backgrounds who want to explore new perspectives.

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In June 2018, Ice Alive commissioned London based poet Niall Firth to produce six short poems. They had to be short enough for twitter and were meant as responses to key scientific themes and concepts. 


It is so hot the street is peeling.

Water is precious in Tucson.

Strip the bed.

The beautiful cool of forgetting.

A drink to soothe spiked throats.

Impossible fractal, a smashed mirror.

Pick this up, handle it carefully.

Chilled, pellucid gravel.

— Niall Firth

The Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Project

When the cold muck of the floodwater first slipped

into our kitchen we built defenses, railed at God.

Now the water kisses the cupboards. We sleep

in the roof. Electrons surge, flick ones to zeroes,

and back. And again.

Everything we ever knew blinks on - and then off.

— Niall Firth

Core history

Old ice. A million years hidden

in a shattered column of light


as dust, isotopes, a mouthful

of air from pre-history.

At this depth it has a memory.

Pockets of greenhouse gases

scattered like an infection or

champagne. Holds ash,

sediments, time.

— Niall Firth


It’s November in the Bering Strait.

The word atiqtaq means “someone who drifts away on moving ice”.

So here we are.

Some words: utuqaq (old winter ice) mitivik (ice crystals floating in the ocean)

siguiq (to become free of sea ice) imaq (ice-free ocean).

— Niall Firth

Fire, fire

Dinner. To lighten the mood she says:

“By 2050, ships will sail to the North Pole.”

Someone makes a glacial joke.

“Seas are rising 3 millimetres per year”.

The wine is delicious and seems to be an excellent vintage.

Some say the world will end in fire.

— Niall Firth

The thaw

What’s left, when it goes?

Bric-a-brac, like shells

exposed by a low tide. But also

more specialised delights hide

in the softening permafrost:

anthrax spores incubated

in long-dead deer, frozen leaves

that felt the sun when our ancestors

first painted their souls on cave walls.

— Niall Firth

Starting with a blank page

For many people, ice and snow are just featureless and white spaces. We want to bring these spaces and ecosystems to life through writing.


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