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Poets Against the War
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Sydney Morning Herald story
February 5, 2003. 4 A week ago Sam Hamill sent an open letter -- printed below -- to a few friends. Word has spread like wildfire from mailbox to mailbox, and to date over 3,600 poets have submitted poems or personal statements to register their opposition to the Bush administration's headlong plunge toward war in Iraq. In doing so, they have honored a long and rich tradition of thoughtful and moral opposition by poets and other artists to senseless and murderous policies, including those of our own government.
In the face of the near unanimous opposition from U.N. members, despite the disapproval of the vast majority of citizens of the world, in defiance of the advice of its own intelligence agencies, and contrary to both common sense and fundamental notions of morality, the Bush administration seems to be on a rocket sled headed for war.
The next few weeks will likely prove to be critical. Please register your protest and add your name to our numbers by submitting a poem or brief commentary. Be part of our National Day of Poetry Against the War on February 12.
If you can go a step further, we’d be grateful for your donation to help build this grassroots movement for peace. Click here to offer financial support.
February 12: A Day of Poetry Against the War
Poets for Peace
United Kingdom - Poets Against the War
Statement by W.S. Merwin
Story in Chicago Poetry
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
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