New York Poets for Peace Ready to Take Their Show on Road
an article by Chris Brandt
In December, 2001, 3 poets - Chris Brandt, Veronica Golos and Angelo Verga - established New York's Poets for Peace, Against the Tide of War. Sickened by the Bush regime’s hijacking of the genuine national debate that blossomed after 9/11, we wanted to support efforts to preserve peace and continue the national dialog. Since we are poets, we were also aghast at the Bush gang's wanton misuse of the English language, and the answer we had to that was language well used.
So, on January 25th, 2002, we produced a highly successful reading at the MLK Center of Local 1199, where Grace Paley, Martin Espada, Cornelius Eady, the late Zoe Anglesey, David Williams, D.H. Melhem, and we three read to an audience of about 250. Since then, we have produced one more large reading and several small ones, and of course, Laura Bush has given American poetry its best shot in the arm in decades by disinviting Sam Hammill from the White House. Thanks, Laura!
The three original organizers of the New York readings have published a chapbook called 3Poets4Peace. (A chapbook is a small-format collection of poems; originally they were song collections sold by peddlers.) We also put together an evening by the same name, in which we read poems that promote peace. About 2/5ths are our own, the rest our favorites from the long and honorable history of anti-war poetry, from Wilfred Owen, Paul Celan and e.e. cummings to Yusef Komunyakaa, Paley, Espada, and Vietnamese poet Nguyen Quang Thieu. We have presented three readings in NY, and we'd like to take our show on the road.
So we are seeking venues outside of NYC. All profits from book sales and admissions to the readings go to the peace movement - groups such as War Resisters League, NION, ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice, the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, etc. We need to cover only travel expenses and a place to stay if it's an overnight thing. Is anyone out there interested?
For possible venues, or to purchase a copy of the book ($5), please contact Chris Brandt at 77 East 4th Street, 6C, NY, NY 10003 - or 212 254-8875 - or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question(s) related to this article:
Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?
* * * * *
Latest reader comment:
Yes, the arts do create a basis for a culture of peace.
The question I would raise is where are the visual artists who have produced a Guernica like painting of Felluja? Paintings last longer than photographs which are too often fleeting.
Do the poets against the war meet annually?
I caught a bit of an interesting tv show which featured world class artists such as Wole Soyinka speaking in Israel/Palestine about ways to further the peace movement there. Did anyone else see the entire show?
I hope a local Peace Day could emulate the UN opening ceremony .