Poets Against the War

Overview


Led by poet Sam Hamill, February 12, 2003 became a day of Poetry Against the War conducted as a reading at the White House gates in addition to over 160 public readings in many different countries and almost all of the 50 states. Since then, over 9,000 poets have joined this grassroots peace movement by submitting poems and statements to www.poetsagainstthewar.org, registering their opposition to the Bush administration's headlong plunge toward war in Iraq. Poets Against the War features a selection of the best ...
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Overview


Led by poet Sam Hamill, February 12, 2003 became a day of Poetry Against the War conducted as a reading at the White House gates in addition to over 160 public readings in many different countries and almost all of the 50 states. Since then, over 9,000 poets have joined this grassroots peace movement by submitting poems and statements to www.poetsagainstthewar.org, registering their opposition to the Bush administration's headlong plunge toward war in Iraq. Poets Against the War features a selection of the best poems that were submitted to the website. Contributors include: Adrienne Rich, W.S. Merwin, Galway Kinnell, Robert Bly, Marilyn Hacker, Grace Schulman, Shirley Kaufman, Wanda Coleman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Hayden Carruth, Jane Hirshfield, Tess Gallagher, Sandra Cisneros, former Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and many others.

Led by poet Sam Hamill, February 12, 2003 became a day of Poetry Against the War conducted as a reading at the White House gates in addition to over 160 public readings in many different countries and almost all of the 50 states. Since then, over 9,000 poets have joined this grassroots peace movement by submitting poems and statements to www.poetsagainstthewar.org, registering their opposition to the Bush administration's headlong plunge toward war in Iraq. Poets Against the War features a selection of the best poems that were submitted to the website. Contributors include%>Adrienne Rich, W.S. Merwin, Galway Kinnell, Robert Bly, Marilyn Hacker, Grace Schulman, Shirley Kaufman, Wanda Coleman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Hayden Carruth, Jane Hirshfield, Tess Gallagher, Sandra Cisneros, former Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and many others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560255390
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 4/10/2003
  • Pages: 263
  • Sales rank: 1,010,600
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Casualty 1
Cranes in August 1
Geese, October 2002 2
Billy Bush Sam-ton 4
Of a Forgetful Sea 6
Gatha 8
Pathetic Lines/Pobres versos 8
January 2003; Vermont 10
On His Way to Kuwait 12
What to Count 14
The Clay's Memory 15
The White House Has Disinvited the Poets 17
Draft-Dodgers vs. Poetry-Dodgers 19
Untitled 21
The Permanent Fragility of Meaning 23
War Breaks Out Again 24
Ohio Elegy 25
Collateral Damage 27
Destiny is Memory 29
Waiting for the Barbarians 30
Mondrians Forest 32
A Lesson from the Corps 36
The New Rapture 37
Syria, 1997 38
Search and Destroy 39
Call and Answer 40
Statement of Conscience 41
Poetry & the American Voice 42
Belief 45
Complaint and Petition 46
The War 48
Riverside Ghazal 49
stones and bones 50
Letter to Sam Hamill 50
Flags 52
War 53
Ground Zero 56
Beatitudes 57
Statement of Conscience 58
Umoja: Each one of us Counts 59
Doing Zazen on the Snow in Front of the Colorado State Capitol an Unknown Number of Days Before my Country Attacks Iraq 61
The Weather in Herat 62
Compression 63
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100 64
Blue Herons 66
Speak Out 68
Shore 70
I Have Never Wanted to March 70
Army Burn Ward 74
At Wat Umong 75
Rural Electric and Statement of Conscience 76
Spring Offensive 78
Guard Duty 80
Poetry of Bodies 81
Morning News 82
Poem for an Iraqi Child in a Forgotten News Clip 84
Imagine 86
Difficult to Sleep 87
from Maddie (age 9) 88
Sheepherder Coffee 89
Statement of Conscience 90
Veterans Day 92
Igneous 94
No 95
Sometimes the Wider World Can Only Be Apprehended Obliquely 97
Poem of War 98
Email for Sam and Ballad of a Dissenter 99
swarming 101
Green Pants and a Bamboo Flute 102
The Dead Do Not Want Us Dead 104
The Kind of Shadow that Calls Out to Fate 104
Anniversary 106
Baghdad 107
The Monument 109
The Last Threshold 111
The Olive Wood Fire 112
Gulf War 113
New Hampshire, February 7, 2003 114
Statement of Conscience 116
Wartime Radio 117
Cello 118
American Wars 119
Statement of Conscience and Untitled 120
Tale of A Doorknob and Statement of Conscience 121
Writing my diary with water 123
The Palace of Lists 124
Memorial Day 126
The Peace Bell 127
Snow Woman 128
Peace On The Land We Live On 129
Denial 130
The seeds of the peace martyrs have borne fruit 131
Letter to Hayden 133
From: Shema 134
Statement of Conscience and Ogres 136
A Palace of Pearls (excerpt) 139
Suicide Note 140
The Woman of Baghdad 141
Brave Woman 142
The Truth as I See It ... Circa 2003 144
Ledger 146
Apres Moi, Le Deluge 149
Bad Fairies 150
The House of Bush 151
I Do Not Want You, Petroleum 153
Voices 153
Unrhymed Peace Sonnet 156
War Haiku 157
Whose Wonderland Is This? 157
I Write This to Report ... 160
The Grace of Angels 161
To the Forty-third President of the United States of America 163
Refusing 167
No Choice 168
Thistle 169
History 170
The Poem in Time of War 172
kunishi ridge 2nd bn. first marines 173
Asleep at the wheel 175
What Is Lost 177
Choices 179
Statement of Conscience 180
Markers 182
Trying to Write a Poem Against the War 183
After the Anti-War March 184
Eavesdropping on America 185
Sandhill Cranes Circling their Targets 186
The Man Who Loved Music (In memory of Junius Scales, 1920-2002) 187
We Are Waiting for Peace to Break Out 188
The School Among the Ruins 190
February 2003 - A sonnet 194
Natural History 195
A Plea 196
Statement of Conscience and The Dream & Lie of George W. Bush 198
10 200
Untitled 204
The Presence of Justice 205
We Guide, We Follow 206
Statement of Conscience and The Journey Home 207
Not a War Song 208
Enough 209
Statement of Conscience and American Light 212
On A Photograph of a Severed Hand 214
Statement of Conscience 216
If There Were No Days, Where Would We Live 217
Children Playing - after the Persian Gulf War 219
Untitled 220
Be Serious 222
We 223
The Aphrodisiac 224
Guernica Pantoum 225
Freedom From Speech 227
none. a tanka 228
Choral Song 228
Chiapas 231
Cambridge Rant 232
You Go On With Your Dying (After Mark Strand) 236
Planet of Smoke and Cloud 238
Mouth-Organs and Drums 239
Doomsday Verse 240
Bloom's Photograph 241
Global Positioning 243
You Say 245
January 31, 2003 246
On Looking Through a Photo Album (of Viet Cong Prisoners) 247
Victory Gardens 249
War 250
Found in the Free Library 253
Tomoko Uemura Is Bathed by Her Mother 255
East of New York 257
sanctuary under a palm frond 258
O Alive Who Are Dead 259
Search and Rescue 260
Shopping List 262
Acknowledgments 265
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    A vital message, but somewhat disappointing

    After enjoying Sam Hamill's excellent introduction to this volume of protest poetry, an insidious impression arose that many of the contributors wrote simply out of an urgent need to say something ¿ anything, so that what emerges reads like rough drafts, rather than final cuts. This is disappointing considering the outstanding lineup of poets Hamill assembled. Very often, poetry arising from national and international exigencies is written too quickly, resulting in a kind of greeting card genre. In short, our antiwar movement needs its articulation, but not a literature of narrative rambling and inartistic polemics of the apparent, undergirded by nothing more than languid endings and unimaginative titles. Instead, poets need the tempering discipline of austerity, whether it's imagistic or symbolist; rhythmic or stylistic ¿ and so forth. That is, too much is obvious in these poems, and the more obvious (universal) a particular subject is, such as war, the more effort that must be put into the artistry of the telling, as exemplified in other compilations of protest poetry. Compare, for instance, 'Poets Against the War' to the protest poetry of John Bradley's 'Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age' (Coffee House Press 1995) or W.D. Ehrhart's, 'Carrying The Darkness: The Poetry of the Vietnam War' (Texas Tech UP 1989). Ironically, Todd Swift's, '100 Poets Against the War' (Salt Publishing 2003) ¿ forerunner of the work under review ¿ contains much more substantive and memorable verse than 'Poets Against the War.' Still, all is not lost. Hamill's book does contain some worthy poetry. Salam al-Asadi's 'The Clay's Memory' is a magnificently powerful witness to war (15-16), while Eric Pankey's 'History' (170-171), Marvin Bell's 'A Lesson from the Corps' (36-37), Lucille Clifton's 'stones and bones' (50), and Holly Thomas's 'Chiapas' (231), are other excellent poems. Several transcend the war in Iraq, such as Jim Pearson's 'kunishi ridge 2nd bn. First marines' (173-174), and John Balaban's 'Collateral Damage' (27-29). Yet, from the wider perspective, perhaps the best feature of the book is simply the reason it came into existence: an outpouring of antiwar sentiment finding voice through the medium of poetry, both here and on the Poets Against the War website. Having said these things, I admit my review is highly subjective and reflects much of my own personal view of what I like in poetry. I certainly don't own the final word on this book but my hope is that its future readers will provide non-emotive and non-politically motivated reviews. Anything else is simply chaff.

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