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Poets Against The War

With one email, poet Sam Hamill has revitalized the anti-war movement in American poetry circles. But thanks belong to First Lady, Laura Bush. She invited Hamill to a February 12 White House symposium called - Poetry: The American Voice. Hamill’s reply was an email to his friends. He urged them to send him poems of protest against the Bush Administrations’s Iraq war policy. On February 10, Hamill appeared at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, CA. 59:56 48 kbps
poets_against_war.mp3 (0 k)
With one email, poet Sam Hamill has revitalized the anti-war movement in American poetry circles. But thanks belong to First Lady, Laura Bush. She invited Hamill to a February 12 White House symposium called - Poetry: The American Voice. Hamill’s reply was an email to his friends. He urged them to send him poems of protest against the Bush Administrations’s Iraq war policy. On February 10, Hamill appeared at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, CA. 59:56 48 kbps
With one email, poet Sam Hamill has revitalized the anti-war movement in American poetry circles. But thanks belong to First Lady, Laura Bush. She invited Hamill to a February 12 White House symposium called - Poetry: The American Voice. Hamill’s reply was an email to his friends. He urged them to send him poems of protest against the administrations’s Iraq policy. He asked that they forward his request to others. The response was overwhelming. Within a few days, Hamill, co-founder of the venerable Copper Canyon Press, received almost 1800 poems. And the White House postponed its symposium. On February 10, Hamill appeared at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, CA. He spoke briefly about Poets Against The War and read poems from his new book - “Dumb Luck.” He was accompanied by local poet and educator, Joe Stroud, who read from The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth and a few of his own works. Also on hand was award-winning poet Adrienne Rich, who in 1997 refused in protest, a National Medal for the Arts award from former president Bill Clinton

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[I saw Santa Cruz right away in the poem index on P.A.W. There are many poems posted from people in our bioregion]

Nancy Abrams
54 years old
575 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060

I'm a poet and singer/songwriter, as well as a lawyer and lecturer at University of California, Santa Cruz. I watch in amazement and horror as America allows Pres. Bush to steal the government, become a dictator and savage our Constitution and democratic values.

Memorial Day

Thank you for the flags Memorial Day
You honor us millions who were slain
But we fought the wars to end the wars
And each time died in vain

Honor is in your flags Memorial Day
But honor is just morphine for your pain
When at last you see that we died in vain
We won't have died in vain

Smiling Sam

An Open Letter from Sam Hamill

Dear Friends and Fellow Poets:

When I picked up my mail and saw the letter marked "The White House," I felt no joy. Rather I was overcome by a kind of nausea as I read the card enclosed:

Laura Bush requests the pleasure of your company
at a reception and White House Symposium
on "Poetry and the American Voice"
on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 at one o'clock

Only the day before I had read a lengthy report on George Bush's proposed "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq, calling for saturation bombing that would be like the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo, killing countless innocent civilians. Nor has Bush ruled out the use of nuclear weapons.

I believe the only legitimate response to such a morally bankrupt and unconscionable idea is to reconstitute a Poets Against the War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam.

I am asking every poet to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend his or her name to our petition against this war, and to make February 12 a day of Poetry Against the War. We will compile an anthology of protest to be presented to the White House on that afternoon.

Please submit your name and a poem or statement of conscience to the Poets Against the War Web site.

There is little time to organize and compile. I urge you to pass along this letter to any poets you know. Please join me in making February 12 a day when the White House can truly hear the voices of American poets.

-- Sam Hamill, Founding Editor and Co-founder of Copper Canyon Press

poem read at Community Church on 2/15/03


bomb blast
vast dense dying


With a thunderous hail to
Christ, Jehovah, Allah
we will have that piece of land
that gold, that crown

Make Mothers question the strain of birth
the suckle of love, the pain of growth

for rivers that once swelled in bluest majesty
will now run blood red
burdened with the broken skulls and severed limbs
the festering bodies of someone else's children
of their own
and wonder if it's best to drwon the kittens when they're born so they need not breathe the stench of death.

reason for the WAR

OK..first and foremost, this is just my opinion..and only at this moment..but I feel strong enough about it to put it forward..and let others take it from there..

I do not believe the whole issue of the WAR is OIL..not at lall..I do not believe Bush can get anyone, any decent American onbaord to his program..and particularilyt his such a grass argument..and I believe Bush is sincerely convinced and honest enough in himself not to try to trick his following by reqasons for WAR while in himself determined to wage it all for OIL..
So in this regard I believe many protesters, in the Arab world and in modern Europe..DO NOT UNDERSTANDD America and the present administration, as to what motivates it and makes it tick.

I feel it is all about the Christian conservative (which by a coincidence of History has the Jewish lobby on its side on this) wing of Amercian policy, which is fueling the drive to WAR..following its basic hostility and animus against Mohammedanism..militant Islam..which has been in our collective soul for ages..especially in the religiously inclined and astute!

Since this area of feeling is absent form modern secular rational scientific Europe, as well as from the Arab world..Amerecia is NOT understood in its holy and missionary zeal.
BUt ask a Franklin Graham, a Bob Jones, a Dr. Dobson..and they are ALL ALIGNED with BUSH on this!

They are natural allies as they think along the SAME lines..conservative Christianity.!

And politics in the hands of these people is a dangerous thing, because for this group, death is not a terrbile thing either, as it is not for the militant Muslims..

On this Osama is correct..he is being challenged by the Crusaders and the Jews.

It is this missionary ZEAL which fires BUSH..especially after having been BROUGHT to the Lord from a confused and unfocused life of alcohol abuse (if you can believe the articles written in this regard) or let us say, a talk with Billy Graham.
I do not hear Billy Graham or Franklin Graham say a word against this rush to war..I do hear the Pope speak out!

I hear Franklin and Dr. Dobson and Bob Jones approve all the current developments to this WAR..and so THIS MAKES me FEEL (whether I am right I cannot say with certainty, but I suspect strongly these things!) that Amercia is in the hands of the CHRISTIAN conservative Right!

And this is what appals me!
I am of European background, Christian, white...and if not so called Anglo-Saxon, but rather of the German race.however the Angles and the Saxons are basically Germanic..came from the German tribes, are German tribes immigrated to England..and (Bush and Rumsfeld are in fact common German names) ..and so I can sense these peole much more than someone not of this race.

I am not against Christian Amercia saving the world if in fact it is called to do it..but to RUSH to save the world..under SUNDAY SCHOOL simplistic pretexts..defies our inate rationality as human beings.

Religion..zealous religion..New England puritanical religion can blind!

And this is what I protest and the world protests.
The arch injustice of the use of brute power in this bullying sanctimonious, holier than thou arrogant approach as Bush uses it.
He reminds me of a Preacher's son sissy..a man who was formed by others, without having thought things thru deeply for himself.
That America (I am Canadian) EVER got itself a President like Bush speaks volumes for the rest ot the WOrld.
Regime change should and will begin in Amercia..or Amercia will be deposed as a world power eventiually.
It is time for America to throw off the Tyranny of its conservative right..its military Germany had to do in the past! and many other nations!
Otherwise the world will array against it must!
Bring democracy to the Middle East? I doubt Amercia cares enough about that..neverhas before, and I do nto see Bush as REALKLY caring in this regard.
If anything, this kind of imposed democracy is meant to pacify the Middle East under the West..and this is Pure oppression!

Thank you...

Peter Evert

Peace March & News coverage

My thanks to Sam Hamill for giving all of us a place to put our voices. This is one of the most fulfilling events I've ever participated in. Another was the worldwide Peace March. I joined one in San Diego, and the response of the people in the neighborhood was overwhelmingly positive. There were people from every walk of life present. That night I looked at the news, and the march, which millions of people from every culture participated in, was dismissed out of hand as a protest by "movie stars and dissident poets." Shame on the media for participating in the government's game of "Wag the Dog." Thanks for listening. T.N.

preparing for class (and the hope for peace)

preparing for class (and the hope for peace)

hey look
i don’t wanna create the vision
of false hope
but i wrote you all a letter.
wanna hear it?

[pause for choices to be made and executed]

to you
the students
in my/our classes
that i work to teach —
early childhood education 62,
“the introduction to early childhood education,”
human development 53,
“child development in a multiethnic society,” and
human development 38,
“child development” —

what could i possibly mean about hope?
isn’t War “inevitable”?

and if it is, had i not better
get that through my thick skull,
sooner rather than later?
i wouldn’t want to get
caught short
not being ready for
The War
not ready for the computer graphics
of precisely targeted coordinates
turning bright orange and yellow in a flash!

the fireworks may be Inevitable
and if they come
and come and come
then they will be followed by the serious faces
of serious young American men
who are warrioring valiantly and with high focus

they will be carrying out an ultimate job
with deadly authority.
if it is some kind of test of skill,
ability, power or resources or determination,
they will soar.
they will soar just as will our missiles
our many many many missiles
of shock and awe will soar.
baghdad will be absolutely thunderstruck.
the cradle of civilization will be rocked profoundly
the tigris and the euphrates will gush red
and black and white and soot.

we may never even see pictures of
the collateral damage.
they may all be blown
to smithereens.

but this is not my point here,
this is just the way i picture it being
if war is
yesterday i saw another picture
i was walking along market street in
san francisco.
in the picture i saw an iraqi child

i was walking with a purpose
a purpose i shared yesterday with one or two
hundred thousand other people walking down
market street on a sunday
and with several millions more around our
globe this weekend
in lisbon, paris, jamaica plain, new york, london,
berlin, philadelphia, chicago, san diego,
sacramento, detroit, milwaukee, amsterdam,
brussels, rome, melbourne, manila,
cape town, barcelona, johannesburg, auckland,
tokyo and seoul, in colorado springs and augusta, maine,
in istanbul and baghdad,
from the bastille to the brandenburg gate,
in santa rosa and san jose, california —
i think we all want the best for that iraqi child.

i think those of us who were not
marching this weekend
also all want the best for that child.
i think all of you do,
here in this classroom today,
every single one of you,
and i think mr. president bush wants that too.

i do not think he wants the iraqi child
whose picture i saw on market street
to be collateral damage.

i sure don’t

petaluma/17 feb 2003

poets against war

It was interesting to note the title of the symposium..The American Voice...
We all know what that means...a voice that they want to hear....if it is against their policy or not on their agenda...
they send you a letter saying that they respect your opinion as an american but ...................

The American voice does not exist....if it is not parroting the Bush administration.....

I am a Canadian.....I see what Mr. Bush is doing and so does the entire thinking world....How is it that it is acceptable for the United States to have nuclear weapons and any other country is considered a terrorist country....
Hmmm....sounds much like someone else who tried to take over the world....he did not succeed either.....
But it took many years for people to see the light....and fight back...

If we do not speak out now ...history will show us as cowards......

We must continue with the marches...the poems...the letters...the gatherings of everyone in this world who will not stand by and allow Mr. Bush to manipulate their thoughts...

Mr. Bush wants power....Mrs. Bush is supporting him....(blindly I might add)If she had one solitary thought apart from parrotting her husband....she may realize that this world of hers ...with her designer suits and covers on magazines presenting her as the perfect First Lady..will all crumble..She was a librarian. Did she skip the History section?

I believe that this is now happening to show us all the corruption of this administration....
This is a vendetta not an attempt at peace.....
If Bush wanted peace ...he would disarm and show an example....but he wants to be the big honcho....
It is a battle for Power......and as we all know eventually the bully gets beaten....

Bush should be made to step down from office...he makes judgements not on facts...but assumptions....
It opens a pandora box for everyone in this world if we iecided to work on that premise...
I will kill my neighbour because I assume he may be trying to kill me...
I am doing it to protect myself....

Irene Motz

new respect

it is actions like these that allows america to hold some respect out here, in the rest of the world. i am profoundly moved by sam hamill's action and salute him and all the poets who responded to his call.

well done to america's poets, you've reinforced the fact that america does have a conscience, is home to some braves though not always the land of the free.

"Dumb Luck"



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