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Poetry

Remembering Vietnam: Poet Doug Rawlings On The War

Doug Rawlings found poetry in 1970 after returning from his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. Over fifty years later, he returned to Vietnam for the first time. In conversation with Chris Hedges, Rawlings looks back on his experience of the war with unflinching honesty on the many crimes of the US military, and shares some of the poems he’s written to process these experiences. Doug Rawlings is a veteran of the Vietnam War who has published several volumes of poetry, including In the Shadow of the Annamese Mountains (2020). He is a cofounder of Veterans for Peace.

Death Of An Oracle

The poet Gerald Stern, who died last Friday at the age of 97, spent his life thundering against the mendacity and abuse of power; rebelling against all forms of authority, big and small; defying social conventions; and wielding his finely honed writing on behalf of the demonized, forgotten and oppressed. He was one of our great political poets. Poetry, he believed, had to speak to the grand and minute issues that define our lives. He was outrageous and profane, often in choice Yiddish, French and German. He was incredibly funny, but most of all brave. Rules were there, in his mind, to be broken. Power, no matter who held it, was an evil to be fought. Artists should be eternal heretics and rebels. He strung together obscenities to describe poets and artists who diluted their talent and sold out for status, grants, prizes, the blandness demanded by poetry journals and magazines like The New Yorker, and the death trap of tenured professorships.

Trump, World War I And The Lessons Of Poetry

In plain English: How sweet and honorable it is to die for one’s country: death pursues the man who flees, spares not the hamstrings or cowardly backs of battle-shy youths. Poets are all too human, and some of them are moral and political imbeciles. Some poets, however, are so deeply troubled by their times that that they both extend and challenge the culture they inherit. There were at least a dozen fine English poets during World War One, and some of them died in trenches and on battlefields. Rupert Brooke, known as much for his beauty as his talent at that time, did not die in battle but on his way to battle. Virginia Woolf thought he had some sterling personal qualities.

Robert Bly: Film Tribute To A Radical

By Shepherd Bliss for Popular Resistance. Poet Robert Bly, now 89 years old, is a radical, by which I mean he returns to the roots. Haydn Reiss has captured him in his new, moving film “Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy.” Watching the film was a trip down my memory’s lane, dating back to meeting the National Book Award-winning poet in the sixties. I was in boot camp training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, home of the Army’s First Division, the Big Red One. I intended to follow our family tradition, which gave our name to Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was on my way to the American War on Vietnam. Bly and others in the group Writers Against War, including poet Allen Ginsberg, came to Kansas with their poetic, prophetic message. They initiated my doubts about America’s War.

The LA Special: Peter Joseph, Matt Sedillo & Lil Haydn

By Eleanor Goldfied for Occupy.com - Yep, we have one helluva all star creative activist lineup for you this week! Starting off, we’ve got Peter Joseph, creator of the Zeitgeist Trilogy talking about his new project, the movement and his artistic and technological expression. Next up, Revolutionary Poet Matt Sedillo performs his piece “Here is a Nation” then talks to us about poetry, activism and some interesting hecklers. Lili Haydn doesn’t play notes, she plays emotions. We catch a performance of hers at the Healthcare for All event in downtown LA and talk to her about finding hope in dark issues and musical activism.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday: Creating A Nonviolent World

As we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2nd, the International Day of Nonviolence, we have the chance to reflect on our progress in creating a nonviolent world. Obviously, creating a nonviolent world has many facets and is a long-term work-in-progress. But if we are to regenerate human society in accord with principles of love, nonviolence, justice, equity and sustainability, it is emphatically clear that we need to dramatically recreate much of our culture, particularly in the West, where hatred, violence and injustice are 'built-in'. How can we do this? According to Gandhi: 'If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.' So, as we reflect, I would like to encourage people to consider and, hopefully, adopt Gandhi’s suggestion before it is too late. I have spent my life trying to work out why humans are violent and, in the end, I discovered that Gandhi was right. Without even realising it, we humans terrorise our children and inflict phenomenal violence on them. How do we do this? We do it by 'socializing' our children. That is, we inflict visible, 'invisible' and 'utterly invisible' violence on our children in order to make them do what we want.

Save The Internet. Calling All Poets!

Right now the Federal Communications Commission is accepting comments from the public on its proposal for Net Neutrality. If passed, this proposal would allow corporations like Verizon and Comcast to cut deals with corporate websites in exchange for priority access to its Internet users. In other words, smaller websites, independent artists, musicians and social justice advocates who use the open Internet to reach audiences not accessible in a heavily corporatized and consolidated media would be relegated to a second-class Internet. Between now and July 15th as technical comments flood the FCC, we want to flood the Internet with Haikus. Join poets like Hakim Bellamy, Sham-e-Ali Nayem, Emmanuel Ortiz and others as we call for #InternetHaikus. Here’s how it works: 1. Write a Haiku about the Internet. What’s a haiku? Check this out! 2. Post your Haiku on Twitter and make sure to include the hashtag #InternetHaiku

What’s the Story With Economic Inequality?

In the early hours of a new day, my thoughts are often filled with the crescendo and decrescendo of American life, like a freight train roaring toward me from some great distance before passing without a trace, disappearing into silence — unlike songs sung to grandchildren of the Virginia love story of Pocahontas and John Smith, or whitewashed history learned by school children of the first Thanksgiving and Plymouth Rock – all the stories we tell ourselves – all the internalized sugar and spice from the Cherry Tree to Bunker Hill, through Andersonville & The Fort Delaware Death Pen to Drones over Stop & Search New York.
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