Poets Against the War
I left with two books that day, both of which I plan to talk about here. The first is called Poets Against the War, edited by Sam Hamill. The summary on the back of the book intrigued me; Laura Bush had invited Mr. Hamill to a White House Symposium on "Poety and the American Voice". But Mr. Hamill had recently read about Bush's "Shock and Awe" plan for Iraq, and he was disgusted by the thought. So he sent out an open letter to the poetry community, calling for them to submit anti-war poetry to the "Poets Against the War" website (bet you were wondering when I'd get the internet to fit into all of this). All 13,000 of the poems that were collected were presented to the US Congress. The book is a collection of some of the best of these poems.
Luckily for me, all of the submissions--including the ones that were printed in the book--are available at the website, so here is a list of a few of my favorites:
I thought you gave me blood.
Now I see, you made me bleed.
And lest you think that the United States has a monopoly on peace-loving poets, the website provides a list of similar projects from around the world. This one from Austrailia is pretty good.
I suppose you can probably guess that this post is at least partially inspired by that whole election thingie we did this year. I was talking with another poetically-inclined friend of mine, and she said that this war, this unrest, is the sort of thing that inspired great poetry in times past, and we're due for another generation of poets and writers to speak out. It happened to some extent in World War II (check out A. E. Housman if you don't believe me), it happened in Vietnam, and it will likely happen again here, and it will use the internet as the newest medium of expression.