Common Dreams brought me the news of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Hundreds of poets gathered in Washington March 20-23 to protest the war. Organizer Sarah Browning noted that since the Bush administration is at war with language when it goes around saying things like “the surge is working,” we need poetry now more than ever.
Or, as one of the poets, Martin Espada, put it, “No change for the good ever happens without being imagined first. . . . That’s where poets come in.”
The group includes famous poets like Sharon Olds and Dennis Brutus, as well as many not-so-famous ones. The festival had its origins in the poets revolt of February 2003, when Sam Hamill declined an invitation from Laura Bush for a poetry event at the White House, because of the looming war, and instead launched a campaign of antiwar poetry writing. Out of that, local poet Sarah Browning formed D.C. Poets Against the War, which has been holding readings ever since.
The poets did things like fill out postcards with haikus for George Bush. I only wish I could have been at this thing, it sounds like the best time ever. Congratulations to all involved.
See an article about the festival from the Washington Post here.
Read Browning’s essay “Hear This Hammer Ring” here.