Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is a poet and performance artist from the Marshall Islands. She earned her MA at the University of Hawaiʻi. Her poetry, in her words, “mainly focuses on raising awareness surrounding the issues and threats faced by my people. Nuclear testing conducted in our islands, militarism, the rising sea level as a result of climate change, forced migration, adaptation and racism in America—these are just a few themes my poetry touches upon. … I also use poetry as a means of understanding the people and the world around me.” In 2014, Jetnil-Kijiner was chosen to address the UN Climate Summit in New York City. Her poem “Dear Matafele Peinem” was written to her daughter and articulated the threats climate change and corporate power pose to the Marshall Islands, as well as the resilience of the Marshallese.
With her cousins, Jetnil-Kijiner founded the community group Jodrikdrik in Jipan ene eo e Kutok Maroro (Youth for a Greener Environment). Jetnil-Kijiner has also performed at Poetry Parnassus in London.