“From time immemorial, poetry has built better bridges between people than those with bricks and stones. And these bridges do not get old or obsolete … ” [Change Is Born in the Womb of Poetry] MujeebJaihoon
POET ACTIVISTS IN SOLIDARITY
After much resistance, I finally joined Facebook under my name HERE and created a page for Into the Bardo HERE. Facebook is yet another something that can consume too much time, but it’s also a gold mine of information and introductions to talented, responsible folks from around the world. Through poet-Friend connections I recently received an invitation to participate in:
100 THOUSAND POETS OF THE WORLD (100 Thousand Poets for Change) – This puts me in mind of Sam Hamill‘s Poets Against the War, when hundreds of poets marched and read outside the White House in protest against the war in Iraq. That was a well-defined effort. In this case the first question that comes to mind is “What kind of change?”
The first order of change is for poets, writers, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering. Excerpt from the press release of March 2011 announcing the the first 100 Poets for Change global event that was held on September 24, 2011. The next global event is scheduled for September 29, 2012.
100 Thousand Poets for Change is a unified effort among activist poets, artists, photographers, and musicians working toward a sustainable world through simultaneous events held across the globe, basically consciousness raising and peaceful protest. This September under the umbrella of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, 700 events were held in 550 cities representing 95 participating countries united to promote environmental, social, and political change. That’s pretty amazing and down-right gratifying. 100 Thousand Poets for Change is not getting the press that the Occupy movement is getting, but it is striking by virtue of its size, support, and sustainability.
Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in an article on About.com said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.” All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.
Throughout the year, there are also small local events. Even as you read here today, the Sharjah International Book Fair is in progress will run through November 27. 100 Thousand Poets for Change was invited to participate and is actively doing so.
If this effort sounds like something that interests you as a poet and/or citizen of the world, check out the website HERE.
POETS AGAINST THE WAR started in 2003 by Sam Hamill is now defunct, but all the poems have been placed in a university archive. I was honored to find that two of mine are included. Sadly the web domain has been assumed by others for advertising. However, there is a bound collection of some of the original poems, Sam Hamill, Poets Against the War.
AUDRE LORDE (1934 – 1992)
Caribbean-American poet, writer, activist
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
NOTABLE AND QUOTABLE
“[Poetry begins] that process by which we insure the future because we know so much more than we understand. We must first examine our feelings for questions, because all the rest has been programmed. We have been taught how to understand, and in terms that will insure not creativity, but the status quo. If we are looking for something which is new and something which is vital, we must look first into the chaos within ourselves. That will help us in the directions that we need to go–that’s why our poetry is so essential, is so vital. Now whether poetry has the responsibility to effect social change . . . it doesn’t really matter. As we get in touch with the things that we feel are intolerable, in our lives, they become more and more intolerable. If we just once dealt with how much we hate most of what we do, there would be no holding us back from changing it. This is true with any kind of movement. This is the way in which the philosopher/Queen, the poet-warrior leads.” Audra Lorde in an interview Karla Hammond, American Poetry Review, March-April 1980
© Jamie Dedes, 2011 All rights reserved