Tag Archives: Martin Espada

Gardens In The Desert, William O’Daly Joins Sunday Live

Carmel Mawle, W4P President

November, in the U.S., is traditionally the month of gratitude. Good news has been little and far between for the last few years and it is a strange dichotomy between the suffering and sadness of separation and loss during this pandemic, and the new hope on the horizon. Science, despite all news to the contrary, seems to be winning out in the end. The assault on our First Amendment Rights has bruised but not broken us. The incoming administration is not perfect, but it does seem to be focused on the environment and correcting the unthinkable injustices endured by families seeking refuge, citizens battered and killed by the police hired to protect us all, the for-profit prison system, and a healthcare system designed to profit off the suffering and vulnerability of citizens at their mercy. The list goes on and on,  but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We hope children who have been detained for months or longer will be reunited with their families soon. New immunizations seem promising and, if not this holiday season, we also hope to be able to come together again soon. For now, we have Zoom, which has been a blessing to our international organization, bringing members together virtually to learn and grow and be inspired through our Sunday Live Readings, Hosted by Brad Wetzler.

At Writing for Peace, we truly have much to be grateful for. Last week, I shared with you the wonderful news about Robert Kostuck accepting the position of Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales. He’s already hard at work on our next DoveTales, but I know he’ll want to tell you about that himself soon. I am finishing up the last details of publishing our print copy of GARDENS IN THE DESERT: CULTIVATING AWARENESS, Winter Edition 2020, Issue II. Robert Kostuck was the Guest Editor for this beautiful book, and the amazing E. Ethelbert Miller was our featured writer. The print copy will be available for ordering on December 1st, in plenty of time for your holiday shopping.

In the meantime, be sure to order your copy of RESISTANCE, Guest Edited by Brad Wetzler, with featured Writer Martín Espada. It’s a powerful expression of our First Amendment Rights. It always  makes me so happy to send our DoveTales all over the world, but I have to say one of the highlights for me this year was mailing copies of RESISTANCE to Russia. It does my heart good to know there are Writers for Peace in every nook and cranny on our beautiful planet.

Read on to learn about William O’Daly, Host Brad Wetzler’s guest this weekend on Sunday LIVE. I hope you can join us!

Stay safe and well, and keep on writing!
Carmel

William O’Daly Joins Sunday Live

This Sunday, November 22 at 8:00 pm ET, Join Host Brad Wetzler when he welcomes poet, essayist and translator William O’Daly to our weekly Sunday Live Reading.

William O’Daly has translated eight books of the late-career and posthumous poetry of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, and most recently Neruda’s first volume, Book of Twilight, a finalist for the 2018 Northern California Book Award in Translation. All nine Neruda translations are published by Copper Canyon Press. O’Daly’s books of poems include The Whale in the Web, also published by Copper Canyon, as well as The Road to Isla Negra (2015), Water Ways (2017, a collaboration with JS Graustein), and Yarrow and Smoke (2018), the latter three published by Folded Word Press. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, O’Daly was a finalist for the 2006 Quill Award in Poetry. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his poems, translations, essays, and reviews have been published in numerous journals and as part of multimedia exhibits and performances. He has received national and regional honors for literary editing and instructional design and has served on the national board of Poets Against War. Currently, he is Lead Writer for the California Water Plan, the Golden State’s strategic plan for sustainably managing water resources. Visit his website for further information and sample poems, essays, and interviews.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82898977722


Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Official DoveTales “Resistance” Launch Date

DoveTales Summer 2020 Issue: Resistance

Martín Espada (photo by David González)

The Summer Issue of DoveTales, An International Online Journal of the Arts will be published on August 1st, 2020. Our guest editor, Brad Wetzler, has themed this issue “Resistance.”

Resistance includes powerful work from writers all over the globe, including Anya Trofimova’s Grand Prize winning poem, “Observations Inspired by Rising Sea Levels,” and work by all our Young Writers Contest Winners.

Our featured writer for this issue of DoveTales is poet Martín Espada. Resistance includes an exclusive interview and new work from his upcoming book, Floaters. Espada will join us in our Friday Live Reading Series on July 24th at 8pm ET.

Brad Wetzler, Guest Editor

About his theme, Guest Editor Brad Wetzler says:

“History’s greatest peacemakers, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, have taught us that peace is never passive. Sometimes those of us who love peace must do more than be living examples of peace. We must act, do, rise up, bang the gong, take to the streets. It’s obvious that now is one of these times. By any peaceful means necessary, we must resist the backdoor decisions and cruel acts of power-mongering politicians and corporate leaders who would create suffering for the world’s citizens, especially the vulnerable and powerless. We must use our voices and vast numbers to stop the madness and bring attention back to the one thing we all share in common: our humanity.”

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Se Eun Pak’s “A Bloody Battle” Nonfiction Finalist and Other W4P News

Read 2020 Young Writers Contest Finalists Pieces In Our July Blog

Congratulations to Se Eun Pak, whose essay “A Bloody Battle” came in as one of two 2020 Young Writers Contest Nonfiction Finalists. Se Eun Pak is in grade 10 at Yongsan International School of Seoul in South Korea. Read her essay in full here.

Friday Live Reading Series

 (photo by David González)

Our last Friday Live Reading, on July 24th, featured Martín Espada who read from his forthcoming book, Floaters, published by W.W. Norton.  Martín Espada is our Featured Writer for the Resistance Edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, which launches on August 1st. If you missed his reading, you can watch it here.

Our next Friday Live Reading features Peter Balakian. On Friday, August 7th, at 8pm ET, Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian will read from his work and discuss poetry of witness.

Learn more about Peter Balakian and his work here.

Resistance, Our Summer DoveTales Goes Live August 1st

Brad Wetzler, Guest Editor

As systemic racism and police brutality threaten Black Lives, as nationalism and authoritarianism runs rampant, as the U.S. Homeland Security and Border Patrols turn against American Citizens and detained immigrants, asylum seekers and prisoners of all ages face the Covid-19 virus behind bars, as we are forced to battle disinformation and government apathy during a world pandemic, Resistance is what writers for peace do. Mark August 1st on your calendars to immerse yourself in the powerful work of writers, artists and photographers who remind us that we are all in this together.

As Guest Editor, Brad Wetzler says,

History’s greatest peacemakers, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, have taught us that peace is never passive. Sometimes those of us who love peace must do more than be living examples of peace. We must act, do, rise up, bang the gong, take to the streets. It’s obvious that now is one of these times. By any peaceful means necessary, we must resist the backdoor decisions and cruel acts of power-mongering politicians and corporate leaders who would create suffering for the world’s citizens, especially the vulnerable and powerless. We must use our voices and vast numbers to stop the madness and bring attention back to the one thing we all share in common: our humanity.

Keep writing, keep resisting. Stay safe and well.


Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Finalist Spanarelli’s “I Am” and Martín Espada Reading

Read 2020 Young Writers Contest Finalists Pieces In Our July Blog

Congratulations to Giuliana Spanarelli, whose poem “I Am” came in as one of two 2020 Young Writers Contest Poetry Finalists. Giuliana is in grade 8 at West Essex Middle School in Caldwell, New Jersey. Read Giuliana’s poem, “I Am,” here.

Friday Live Reading Hosts Martín Espada

Tomorrow, July 24th, at 8pm ET, Martín Espada will will read from his forthcoming book, Floaters, published by W.W. Norton.  Find the details here. You won’t want to miss this! Martín Espada is also the Featured Writer for our Resistance Edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, which launches on August 1st.

About Martín Espada

Martín Espada (photo by David González)

Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His forthcoming book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. His many honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern University Press. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.


Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Finalist Sophia Fang’s Zongzi, Martín Espada Reading and Other W4P News

Read 2020 Young Writers Contest Finalists Pieces In Our July Blog

Congratulations to Sophia Fang, whose short story “Zongzi” came in as one of two 2020 Young Writers Contest Fiction Finalists. Sophia is in grade 10 at Westview High School in Sandiego, California. Read her short story, “Zongzi,” here.

Friday Live Readings

(Photo by Connie Kuusisto)

If you missed Adviser Stephen Kuusisto’s wonderful reading from his latest book, Have Dog, Will Travel, the recording is available now. Learn how his book, requested by Simon and Schuster, evolved into the lyrical memoir it became. Stephen’s reading touched on his process and activism, the books that influenced his writing and personal growth, and became something of a love poem to his first guide dog, Corky and his wife, Connie. Watch the reading in full here.

(Photo by David González)

Our next Friday Live Reading is on July 24th at 8pm ET with Martín Espada, our DoveTales Resistance Featured Writer. He will read from his new book, Floaters, and discuss his process and activism. Find the details here. You won’t want to miss this!

Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His forthcoming book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. His many honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern University Press. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

If You Don’t Know Me by Now…

By Adviser E. Ethelbert Miller, in AWP Magazine & Media

Adviser E. Ethelbert Miller

Too many metaphors are missing these days. In their absence, we desperately search for a way of explaining the sudden upheaval in our society. We uproot the past looking for historical clarity. Unfortunately, the future often wears a mask. We are no longer protesting like this is the ’60s. The motion of history has taken us somewhere else. “Where are we?” is as difficult to utter as “Once upon a time.” As writers, our own words and narratives (if we are not careful) can turn against us, and even become suffocating.

Read E. Ethelbert Miller’s entire essay here.

 


Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

Pandemic Solidarity, Friday Live Series, and Resistance Swag

A word on pandemic solidarity. After weeks of missing loved ones, strained budgets and toilet paper shortages, sterilizing everything that comes through the door, and (for many) homeschooling, it’s natural to be tempted to let our guards down. Dear writers for peace, we hope you’ll stay strong and continue to practice social distancing. This too will pass, and with it’s sorrows and horrors, there will be new insights that guide us on our individual paths as writers. Stay safe, and together we’ll persevere, refine our craft, and emerge on the other side with increased power of the pen.

To that end, Writing for Peace has started a new Friday Live Reading Series on Zoom. Hear extraordinary writers read and discuss their work in a casual community environment that encourages your questions and participation. Our first Friday Live Reading was last Friday with E. Ethelbert Miller. You won’t want to miss our next Friday Live Reading with poet and activist Wang Ping on May 15th, at 8pm (EDT). She’ll read and discuss her new book, My Name Is Immigrant and answer your questions. The Zoom links and passwords will go up on our calendar and you’ll find all that information in our post next Monday.  Be sure to check frequently as our Friday Live line up takes shape. Also, find the event invite on our Facebook page and let us know you’re coming. We hope to see you and hear your questions at all our readings!

2020 Upcoming Friday Live Readings, 8pm EDT

May 15, Wang Ping

May 29, Veronica Golos

June 12, Djelloul Marbrook

July 10, Stephen Kuusisto

July 24, Martín Espada

August 21, R. L. Maizes


Writing for Peace Swag

In honor of our coming Resistance DoveTales, we’ve created a line of T-shirts, hoodies, and bags with the resistance protest sign you’ve seen at marches. Social distancing may prevent us from marching shoulder to shoulder for a little while, but the resistance continues. Check them out at our new Writing for Peace Swag store. And thank you for supporting Writing for Peace.


Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100, by Martín Espada

By Martín Espada

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
            for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees
            Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant,
            who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center

Alabanza. Praise the cook with a shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza.
Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza.Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.

Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, República Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen in the morning,
where the gas burned blue on every stove
and exhaust fans fired their diminutive propellers,
hands cracked eggs with quick thumbs
or sliced open cartons to build an altar of cans.
Alabanza. Praise the busboy’s music, the chime-chime
of his dishes and silverware in the tub.
 
Alabanza. Praise the dish-dog, the dishwasher
who worked that morning because another dishwasher
could not stop coughing, or because he needed overtime
to pile the sacks of rice and beans for a family
floating away on some Caribbean island plagued by frogs.
Alabanza. Praise the waitress who heard the radio in the kitchen
and sang to herself about a man gone. Alabanza.

After the thunder wilder than thunder,
after the shudder deep in the glass of the great windows,
after the radio stopped singing like a tree full of terrified frogs,
after night burst the dam of day and flooded the kitchen,
for a time the stoves glowed in darkness like the lighthouse in Fajardo,
like a cook’s soul. Soul I say, even if the dead cannot tell us
about the bristles of God’s beard because God has no face,
soul I say, to name the smoke-beings flung in constellations
across the night sky of this city and cities to come.
Alabanza I say, even if God has no face.

Alabanza. When the war began, from Manhattan and Kabul
two constellations of smoke rose and drifted to each other,
mingling in icy air, and one said with an Afghan tongue:
Teach me to dance. We have no music here.
And the other said with a Spanish tongue:
I will teach you. Music is all we have.

“Alabanza” was first published in *The Nation Books* anthology, Poets Against the War. “Alabanza” was contributed by Martín Espada in honor of the tenth anniversary of Poets Against the War and the movement’s founder, Sam Hamill, and is reprinted today in memory of the many tragedies of 9/11.

About Martín Espada

Martin Espada, Writing for Peace Daily PAW Post Guest PoetCalled “the Latino poet of his generation,” Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems, The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011), is the recipient of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award and an International Latino Book Award. The Republic of Poetry, a collection published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A previous book of poems, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other books of poems include A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (Norton, 2000), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (Norton, 1993), and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (Curbstone, 1990).  He has received such recognition as the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.  His work has been widely translated; collections of poems have been published in Spain, Puerto Rico and Chile. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (South End Press, 1998), has been banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. A graduate of Northeastern University Law School and a former tenant lawyer, Espada is currently a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Learn more about Martín Espada’s work here.

 

Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace News

Congratulations To Our New Young Advisers

Writing for Peace is pleased to introduce two remarkable young peace activists, the founding members of our new panel of Young Advisers. Both have shown an extraordinary commitment to peace. Check their pages and watch our blog for their inspirational posts.

Natan Blanc, Writing for Peace Young AdviserNatan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Natan held fast to his convictions, despite being jailed ten times.

Lyla June Johnston, Writing for Peace Young AdviserLyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity.

Writing for Peace is accepting nominations of young activists, writers, and artists, for our new panel of Young Advisers. Please send nominations by email, along with the reasons for your nomination and contact information to editor@writingforpeace.org, subject heading: Young Adviser Nominations.

2014 Young Writers Contest

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Submission guidelines here.

 DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceDoveTales Call for Submissions

Writing for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.

Support Writing for Peace

DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts, "Occupied" 2013Help us reach out to schools and young writers by purchasing a copy of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to gift to your local high school or junior high. Let us know you are gifting your copy, and we’ll include extra bookmarks (beautifully designed by artist-in-residence, PdLietz). Purchase our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

A Tribute to Sam Hamill, by Martín Espada

Sam Hamill, Writing for Peace AdviserCommemorating Ten Years of Poetic Resistance, PAW Post No. 28

Writing for Peace  commemorates the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War with Daily PAW Posts from a host of contributors. 

*Parental Guidance Warning –The poets featured during our February Daily PAW Posts write of war and its effect on the human heart. Writing for Peace has not censored these poems, and we encourage parents to review the content before sharing them with children.

To purchase a copy of POETS AGAINST THE WAR from Powell’s independent bookstore, click here.

Small Writing for Peace logo

Our final post is from Martín Espada, who shares his tribute to Sam Hamill and Poets Against the War, originally given at the 2012 Split This Rock Festival in Washington, D.C. on March 22nd, 2012.

Martín Espada

I am honored to speak today at this tribute to Sam Hamill and Poets Against War.

Poetry saved Sam Hamill. Poetry saved him from a life of violence, self-destruction and incarceration.  This poem is dedicated to him.
Blasphemy
          For Sam Hamill

Let the blasphemy be spoken: poetry can save us,
not the way a fisherman pulls the drowning swimmer
into his boat, not the way Jesus, between screams,
promised life everlasting to the thief crucified beside him
on the hill, but salvation nevertheless.

Somewhere a convict sobs into a book of poems
from the prison library, and I know why
his hands are careful not to break the brittle pages.

 

Allow me to introduce Sam Hamill.

Sam was born in 1942 or 1943 to unknown parents.  Adopted and raised in Utah, he was beaten and abused, a runaway, a petty thief, in trouble with the law, in and out of jail.

In the moving poem, “Plain Dumb Luck,” he writes of being “huddled in a cell in Fredonia, Arizona/ rolling cigarettes from a Bull Durham pouch/ locked up for the crime of being fourteen and homeless.”  A sheriff tells him to “Go home, son,” but “Home was the road/ for a kid whose other home was hell./ I’d rather steal than taste that belt again./ I stole.”

And yet, by poem’s end, forty years later, the poet concludes that he is “the luckiest son-of-a-bitch alive.” It was his “dumb luck” to discover poetry.  From the practice of poetry everything else would flow.

At City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, there was more “dumb luck:” a serendipitous encounter with poet, translator and critic Kenneth Rexroth, who would become Sam’s first mentor.  As Sam recalls:

I was fifteen years old, and I was smoking a lot of heroin and trying to be cool, man, and I really loved poetry. And Kenneth convinced me that destroying myself was not really the best possible solution, and that I needed to look at the world’s literature, and not just my own life, in order to be hip, if you will. So he had a huge influence on what became of me thereafter.

What became of Sam Hamill?

In the words of Hayden Carruth, “No one—I mean no one—has done the momentous work of presenting poetry better than Sam Hamill. His editing and publishing, his criticism and translations, his own very strong and beautiful poems have been making a difference in American culture for many years. What a wealth of accomplishment!”

Sam has published over 40 books. His collections of poetry include Destination Zero, Gratitude, Dumb Luck, Measured by Stone, and Almost Paradise.  His essay collections include A Poet’s Work and Avocations. He taught himself classical Chinese and Japanese, and is the leading translator of poetry from these ancient languages. His translations include Narrow Road to the Interior and Other Writings of Basho, Crossing the Yellow River, The Poetry of Zen, and the Tao Te Ching.

He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Mellon Fund. In 1973, he co-founded the legendary Copper Canyon Press, serving as editor there for more than thirty years, publishing Rexroth, Carruth, McGrath, the posthumous works of Neruda.

When Sam began his Zen practice and declared himself a conscientious objector, he took a “bodhisattva vow” to become a peacemaker. (Sam is a tough pacifist. I used to tell him that he put the “fist” in “pacifist.”)

Small wonder, then, that Sam felt  (and I quote) “overcome by nausea” when he was invited to participate in a White House symposium called, “Poetry and the American Voice,” hosted by First Lady Laura Bush. The symposium, set for February 2003, was cancelled when word got out of Sam’s plan to gather anti-war poems for presentation to the First Lady.

Never tell Sam: Don’t say that. He fought back by founding Poets Against the War. PAW collected, posted and archived more than 20,000 poems and statements against war. As Sam puts it, “Never before in recorded history have so many poets spoken in a single chorus.” He also edited the anthology Poets Against the War, published by The Nation Books.

In the foreword to that extraordinary anthology, Sam Hamill writes:

Can (thousands of) poems inhibit this or any administration planning a war? It is only one step among many. But it is an important step, as each is. We join physicians against the war, teachers against the war, farmers against the war, and others. Poets Against the War helped bring about hundreds of poetry readings and discussions around the world while compiling a document of historic proportion. And when our critics on the right suggest that poetry might somehow divorce itself from politics, we say, ‘Read the Greeks, read the classical Chinese; tell it to Dante, Chaucer, Milton or Longfellow. Tell it to Whitman, Dickinson or Hughes. Tell it to García Lorca, to Joseph Brodsky or to the Chinese poets living in exile in our country…A government is a government of words, and when those words are used to mislead, to instill fear or to invite silence, it is the duty of every poet to speak fearlessly and clearly.

Albert Camus writes: “henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions. Sam Hamill has become the living embodiment of this principle. He and PAW defined a culture of conscience in this country. When future generations want to know the truth of these times, they will not turn to Colin Powell’s testimony at the United Nations. They will turn to the words of Sam Hamill. They will read Poets Against the War.

Sam is a true visionary. He sees through ancient eyes, “fearlessly and clearly.”  His translation of the poem, “Song of the War Wagons” by Tu Fu, written in China more than 1200 years ago, speaks to us of war today:

We’ve shed a sea of blood.
Still the emperor wants more.
East of the mountains, a thousand villages,
ten thousand villages, turn to bitter weeds…
Our boys lie under the weeds.
Being right is necessary but not sufficient.  In 2003, when he founded PAW, Sam was right about the “sea of blood” and the “emperor” who wanted more; but he also had the integrity to take action, regardless of consequences. Ultimately, Sam Hamill is the kind of visionary who rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.  This is from his poem, “Ars Poetica:”

  
 We go down to the sea and set sail
 For a world beyond war,
       knowing
 we will never find it.
       We are not heroes.
 We sail The Justice and The Mercy
 because these boats need rowing.

The time has come for us to stand up and express our gratitude for all that rowing.  Please welcome my compañero, my hero, Sam Hamill.

*********

Writing for Peace applauds each of the poets who shared their anti-war poems with us this month, every poet who took part in the PAW resistance of 2003, and especially our adviser Sam Hamill, whose moral courage continues to challenge us to search for understanding and stand for truth.

 

Martin Espada, Writing for Peace Daily PAW Post Guest PoetAbout Martín Espada

Called “the Latino poet of his generation,” Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems, The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011), is the recipient of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award and an International Latino Book Award. The Republic of Poetry, a collection published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A previous book of poems, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other books of poems include A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (Norton, 2000), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (Norton, 1993), and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (Curbstone, 1990).  He has received such recognition as the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.  His work has been widely translated; collections of poems have been published in Spain, Puerto Rico and Chile. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (South End Press, 1998), has been banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. A graduate of Northeastern University Law School and a former tenant lawyer, Espada is currently a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Learn more about Martin Espada’s work here.

 

Writing for Peace News:

During the month of February, Writing for Peace has offered a post each day in honor of the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War. We hope all our readers have been as moved and inspired by these poets as we have.

In March, our focus will shift toward other aspects of peace, as we take a step back from the inflammatory debate about reducing gun violence and explore the issue through poetry, essays and fiction. We won’t continue the rigorous posting schedule of February, but you can continue to count on us for two to three posts per week.

2013 Young Writers Contest

The 2013 Young Writers Contest closes at midnight, Mountain Standard Time on March 1st.  Announcements will be made through our blog on May 1st 2013.  Contest guidelines are posted here.

DoveTales Update!

We’ve already extended our release date twice, and we’re going to do it once more (knocking on wood).  The print copies of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts will be out by the end of March. E-books will likely be offered sometime before that. We beg your continued patience, and assure you it will be worth the wait. Our first issue is absolutely beautiful!

Thank you for your support, and continue to check in with us here for news about DoveTales.

 

Copyright © 2013 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100, by Martín Espada

Sam Hamill, Writing for Peace AdviserCommemorating Ten Years of Poetic Resistance, PAW Post No. 5

During the month of February, Writing for Peace  commemorates the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War with Daily PAW Posts from a host of contributors.

To purchase a copy of POETS AGAINST THE WAR from Powell’s independent bookstore, click here.

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The Poets Against the War movement began as a response to Poet Sam Hamill’s call to action, a call that resulted in a flood of over 26,000 poems, as well as personal attacks, hate mail, and even death threats. What was it about this poet, a man of peace and integrity, that compelled others to stand with him, or against him?

As poet David Scott Pointer illustrates so powerfully, military dominance permeates our culture in ways both seen and unseen. We grow up reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, holding our hand over our heart to the National Anthem, eyes watering to “the rockets red glare.” We’ve grown accustomed to radio, television, and internet news of American wars fought on other continents, but it had been over a century since we’d seen the devastation of war on our own soil.

Writing for Peace welcomes guest poet, Martín Espada.

Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
            for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees
            Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant,
            who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center

Alabanza. Praise the cook with a shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza.
Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza.Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.

Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, República Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen in the morning,
where the gas burned blue on every stove
and exhaust fans fired their diminutive propellers,
hands cracked eggs with quick thumbs
or sliced open cartons to build an altar of cans.
Alabanza. Praise the busboy’s music, the chime-chime
of his dishes and silverware in the tub.
 
Alabanza. Praise the dish-dog, the dishwasher
who worked that morning because another dishwasher
could not stop coughing, or because he needed overtime
to pile the sacks of rice and beans for a family
floating away on some Caribbean island plagued by frogs.
Alabanza. Praise the waitress who heard the radio in the kitchen
and sang to herself about a man gone. Alabanza.

After the thunder wilder than thunder,
after the shudder deep in the glass of the great windows,
after the radio stopped singing like a tree full of terrified frogs,
after night burst the dam of day and flooded the kitchen,
for a time the stoves glowed in darkness like the lighthouse in Fajardo,
like a cook’s soul. Soul I say, even if the dead cannot tell us
about the bristles of God’s beard because God has no face,
soul I say, to name the smoke-beings flung in constellations
across the night sky of this city and cities to come.
Alabanza I say, even if God has no face.

Alabanza. When the war began, from Manhattan and Kabul
two constellations of smoke rose and drifted to each other,
mingling in icy air, and one said with an Afghan tongue:
Teach me to dance. We have no music here.
And the other said with a Spanish tongue:
I will teach you. Music is all we have.

“Alabanza” was first published in *The Nation Books* anthology, Poets Against the War.

 

Martin Espada, Writing for Peace Daily PAW Post Guest Poet

About Martín Espada

 

Called “the Latino poet of his generation,” Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published more than fifteen books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems, The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011), is the recipient of the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award and an International Latino Book Award. The Republic of Poetry, a collection published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A previous book of poems, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other books of poems include A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (Norton, 2000), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (Norton, 1993), and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (Curbstone, 1990).  He has received such recognition as the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.  His work has been widely translated; collections of poems have been published in Spain, Puerto Rico and Chile. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (South End Press, 1998), has been banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. A graduate of Northeastern University Law School and a former tenant lawyer, Espada is currently a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Learn more about Martin Espada’s work here.

Writing for Peace News:

All during the month of February, Writing for Peace is commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of Poets Against the War with a Daily PAW Post. If you are interested in arranging a reading this month in honor of Poets Against the War, please contact us with the details at editor@writingforpeace.org, and we will be happy to share your information on our site.

2013 Young Writers Contest

The Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest is in full swing, with entries coming in from all over the globe.  The contest is open to writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, for ages 13 to 19. Contest deadline is March 1st, 2013. Spread the word to young writers everywhere! You’ll find contest guidelines here.

DoveTales,  An International Journal of the Arts

The first issue of DoveTales will be released this month, featuring poets, writers, artists and photographers from all over the world.  We are also looking forward to seeing the winners of our 2012 Young Writers Contest in print. Watch our posts for news of the journal’s release. The new submission guidelines will go up on March 1st. Thank you for your support!

 

 

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