from Bob Holman and Margery Snyder

Poets for Change Guides  June 29, 2011
By Bob Holman & Margery Snyder


You may read that headline and ask, “What kind of change? And which poets?” And on September 24, 2011, the answers to your questions will be many and worldwide. The idea sparked by our friend Michael Rothenberg of Big Bridge is to inspire the global community of poets to get together not in a single place but on a single day, to do poetry for the sake of whatever kind of change they believe is most needed, in locally organized events all over the planet. It seems clear that to the organizers, “change” is a code word for progressive social movement towards peace, tolerance and sustainability—but the beauty of the concept of 100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive. So the answer to “which poets?” is whichever poets want to participate, and the answer to “what change?” is whatever change those poets want to move toward.

In an interview with Heidi Lynn Staples of Poets for Living Waters, Rothenberg has defined the change he expects to see in this way:

“The first order of change is for poets, writers, artists, anybody, to actually get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community. We have all become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street, let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of global solidarity. I think it will be empowering…”

Empowering indeed—the Web site is already showing 283 events planned in 63 countries for September 24, so the day may well live up to its name and involve 100,000 poets. Red Slider has set up Poems for Change, an index of poems to be shared at the Poets for Change events. Anny Ballardini and Obododimma Oha are working with Rothenberg to edit an anthology of visual artwork, poems, poetic fiction, poetic nonfiction, and photographs to be published in conjunction with the September events. Visit 100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE to find out what’s happening near you, or to join in and organize something yourself.



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