Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

“We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out-of-control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us of kinship where all is represented as separation.” —Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)


Excellent article by William Scott in The Nation updating us all on the efforts made to keep the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library going despite two police raids. Click here for the article.

“We’re still accepting donations and lending books just as we always have, but we’ve reorganized ourselves somewhat. We now have three mobile units staffed by OWS librarians, which we can take anywhere we want.”

Plus an amazing tale of poetry’s effect on riot police…

The People’s Library also has a blog–read  more and find out how to contribute books. Click this link.

Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg’s office tweeted that materials seized from the Occupy Wall Street Library were safely in storage at a sanitation facility ready to be picked up. Today, intrepid OWS librarians made the trek to the Sanitation Facility only to find a just a fraction of the library materials intact and available. Missing, and presumably destroyed: thousands of books, laptops, wifi devices, stamps, tables and shelves, archival materials, personal belongings and much more. More on this story, including pictures, here. What comes next? Dunno, but never underestimate librarians.

The New York Police Department, under the direction of Michael Bloomberg, razed the New York Occupy Wall Street site last night. Part of their work was to demolish the OWS Library and to throw away more than 5,000 donated books and many records that might have made up a valuable cultural archive. Corey Doctorow writes about the raid here. Galley Cat has more news here. More than 150 people were arrested. OWS librarians state that books and other records were destroyed before they were thrown into dump trucks. A sad day. But online OWS-related libraries are springing up. See a list here. Presumably, these libraries, because they are online, cannot be raided and destroyed.

Poet and professor Dean Rader has begun curating a very interesting forum in the public uses of poetry, 99 Poems for the 99 percent, which will run 99 poems “that address the social, political, economic, aesthetic, and cultural realities of the 99 percent” in 99 days. So far, the site includes poems by Bob Hickok, Rachel Loden, Dana Levin, Derek Mong and Matthew Zapruder. The poems are good, with more to come, but what interests me is Rader’s cr-aa-aa-zy notion that poetry, of all things, might have some legitimate use in the public sphere. Now that’s a radical idea. Go, Dean! Highly recommended.

Occupy Wall Street is about protest, sure, but the people there are also really interested in modeling a new democratic society. And apparently one of the first orders of business for that society has been to organize a FREE library with donated books.  How cool is that? You can read about it here.

The library not only already has books; they also have a catalog, a scanning operation and they’re up on the web and on LibraryThing. These are proper librarians, ya’ll.

And you know what else they’ve got? A mailing address. They like getting books in the mail. And, hmmm…, so many of you that read this blog are authors and you probably have extra books laying around… Catch my drift?

Best advice yet on how to deal with writerly jealousy, envy and bitterness.

“There isn’t a thing to eat down there in the rabbit hole of your bitterness except your own desperate heart.”

Highly recommended, especially when someone you don’t like so much gets a big book deal.

The President of the University of Arizona, Robert Shelton, read a poem by M. S. Merwin at the memorial service for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others on January 12. To read the poem, and to find out more about W. S. Merwin and his views of how poetry helps us cope with tragedy, see the following link.

Poetry in Times of Tragedy | The University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Astrid Lorange on Gertrude Stein and “the poetics of spanking.”

Luc Sante waxes nostalgic over life in New York in the Seventies: “New York City was the only imaginable home, the only place that posted no outer limit on appearance or behavior.”

John Steinbeck on fiction.

American poet Dean Young desperately needs a heart transplant. If you’d like to contribute to the transplant fund, see the link.
Ash Ode

When I saw you ahead I ran two blocks
shouting your name then realizing it wasn’t
you but some alarmed pretender, I went on
running, shouting now into the sky,
continuing your fame and luster. Since I’ve
been incinerated, I’ve oft returned to this thought,
that all things loved are pursued and never caught,
even as you slept beside me you were flying off.
At least what’s never had can’t be lost, the sieve
of self stuck with just some larger chunks, jawbone,
wedding ring, a single repeated dream,
a lullaby in every elegy, descriptions
of the sea written in the desert, your broken
umbrella, me claiming I could fix it.