Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Drone Teach-In" with Medea Benjamin!


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Cleveland Peace Action is proud to co-sponsor this event, a opportunity to learn about very modern and insidious drone warfare. We will be presenting workshop, Slim  Down the Pentagon and Fund Our Communities.

DRONE TEACH-IN
presented by
IMAGINE PEACE
Saturday, April 5, 2014
10:00 AM-5:00 PM
West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116

Medea Benjamin, keynote speaker - Co-founder of Nationally renowned grassroots social justice movement CODEPINK.

"It's a way of waging war without putting U.S. lives at risk. It's a way of waging war without letting the American people know we're even at war. It's a way of waging war that lets the CIA and other secret organizations have control-don't even have to go to Congress. It's a tremendous abuse of executive power. And it's killing a lot of innocent civilians. And the American people need to know about it." - Medea Benjamin

Download flyer for distribution and details on workshop sessions 


Meet & Greet with Medea Benjamin immediately following Teach-In. Appetizers & beverages provided. Suggested donation $20.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided. Join us for any part of the day's program. Like us on Facebook @ West Shore Imagine Peace


RSVP: kosmac.jean@gmail.com
There will be a display of the Drones Quilt Project exhibit.


Sponsored by: ACLU, AFSC (American Friends Service Committee), Cleveland Nonviolence Network, Cleveland Peace Action, Council on American-Islamic Relations, East Shore UU Church Peace Seekers, IRTF, State Representative Nickie J. Antonio, Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace - Chapter 39

Friday, February 28, 2014

Franny Choi's "Chinky"

Poem of the Week:   
Franny Choi      

Franny Choi 
  

Chinky 

I. LETTER FROM THE WORLD TO MY EYES

How'd you get so slice?
Razor pinch all flat-like? All puff
& sting? What's your allergy?
Hi bucktooth cartoon. Hi war
paddy. Hi refugee. Spit. Take it.
Tight lids. Dagger flick. Stick
shift. Tease. Lemon juice.
Wide screen. We all scream.
What are you mad? Seething in
the corner? Cat squeezing
fish spine from back? What are you
blind-eye? What are you cock-
roach? What are you gleaming
all teeth no iris at the sun's grin?


II. LETTER FROM MY EYES TO THE WORLD

Act like you've

never seen a pinhole

camera. I drink every

every. Condense light

into its smallest body.



-Franny Choi   

Use by permission.
Originally published in Radius.  

Franny Choi's poetry explores the collisions of identity, the volatility of language, and the haunting relationship between the artist's body and her body of work. She has been a finalist at the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. A Pushcart Prize Nominee, her literary work has appeared inFringeApogeeTandemAngry Asian Man, and others. Her play Mask Dances, which told the story of the 1980 Kwangju Uprising, was staged for the 2011 Writing is Live Festival. She co-coordinates ProvSlam Youth, a program for young writers in Providence, RI. Her first collection of poetry,Floating, Brilliant, Gone is forthcoming from Write Bloody Publishing in March 2014. 
 
Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 
 
Poem of the Week Open Call Closed 

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series is booked through the 2014 festival. We will not be accepting any new submissions during this time. Keep an eye out next Spring when we will open up the submissions again. Thanks for understanding!
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

legend legend (Jaded Ibis, 2013) by Justin Petropoulos and Carla Gannis

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  legend legend (Jaded Ibis, 2013) by Justin Petropoulos and Carla Gannis
Review by Philip Metres

A mutual friend once joked that Justin Petropoulos would one day write a memoir in which he never appeared.  That’s precisely the aesthetic that guides his poetry and the vision that it encompasses; reading Petropoulos is like reading the rebellious child of language poetry and dystopian fiction—it’s militantly forbidding at first glance, but intriguingly quotable once one settles into its chaotic disjunctive music. 

His second book, legend legend(Jaded Ibis, 2013)—a collaboration with artist Carla Gannis—emerges from a series of redactions of Edna Kenton’s The Book of Earths, a 1928 compendium of various global written and visual imagings of our planet.  It has since morphed into a series of art engagements (digital and performance-based, including digital paintings, animations, projection mapped & 3D printed sculptures) which have extended the project beyond the space-time constraints of the book. (Check out their web presence if you’d like to co-create, for example, by redaction techniques.)

The very title--(which, when typed with its precise html coding, actually disappears itself, a problem I discovered after posting this piece the first time!)--is suggestive of the source text’s double-meaning: it is at once a textual supplement or a key to a map and a kind of fabled story that speaks to a particular time and place.  But in truth, in the redactive engagement with this text and its various mappings, this is an anti-cartographic project.  It attempts to unwrite the various creation stories and foundational myths that have begun to ossify and control, rather than merely attempt to explain, the way things are as they are.  Apparently, the project’s title is an empty html tag, which requires us as readers to fill in the blanks.  It reminds me somehow of R.E.M.’s lyrics in their revisionary “Cuyahoga”: “let’s put our heads together/and start a new country up/our father’s father’s father’s tribe/ erased the parts they didn’t like/ let’s try to fill it in.” 

From the very opening lines, we have the sense of bodies navigating cities, bodies against themselves, against others: “they walk their feet against/ours speak with likelihood/are your heels higher than /your head we admire hanging/orchards the philosophers’/cities suppose a citizenry/digging with a spoon” (15).  The corresponding image suggests the contortions that such urban geographies impose upon the body.  The final line, “digging with a spoon,” evokes the absurd situation of these subject-bodies.  It’s suggestive of fruitless labor, and also echoes the classic prisoner’s attempt to escape from a life sentence. 

The entire work is pressurized by this sense of the oppressive architectures of late capitalist life.  But the vision of this book is not suffocatingly dystopic—or rather, it is dystopic in the way that dystopias tend to be beset with fissures, sites of release, apocalypse.  “When the world becomes bad,” it states at one point, “make it over again” (23).  The book—itself a recycling of books—is interested in making a new world from the remnants of the old.  The wreckage of old maps and myths, if plumbed and recombined, could produce the space for the new.  

Petropoulos’ language, embracing the antinarrativity of much language poetry, has that constitutive element of drawing into focus or clarity and then departing again, the way radio stations come in and out of signal as one passes by cities—if one were in a supersonic jet.  The danger for the reviewer is not to suggest overly obvious meanings of individual lines merely explain themselves, when the wholeness of the text embraces a kind of chaos beyond any simplistic utterances of single phrases.  “Meaning,” the text warns, “is what/we wither into” (114).

That said, I’d like to isolate some of my favorite phrases, which feel like keys to the engine of this work: “if water stretching endlessly                  bounded” (25); “buried city      an uncovering/of clauses we know           historicity” (30); “into each sketch of sleep    policies/are financed” (32); “it’s possible to sketch largely with no/ detail  how a dictionary smells”(35); “so many mirages/he could not reconcile” (49); “the urge           to glue things/together/ things which              hatch/escaping” (56).  We see the poet’s attempt goes beyond simply to “shore ruins” (as Eliot’s speaker in “The Waste Land”); he feels the way in which language itself is also implicated in the ruination. 

The book is not illustrated exactly, but re-imaged by Gannis, the way Petropoulos redacts The Book of Earths.  Her drawings are replete with bodies penetrating and penetrated by themselves, as if imprisoned by the bodies’ tentacular longings and imprisonments, the machinery of desire that gives birth to cities and digital virtualities and endless mirrors.  But amid the postapocalyptic visions, both textual and visual, something else is possible, nascent, growing.

The longing for the body through (and beyond) the language is where the text constantly pulls.  The gorgeous section, “[spooky action at a distance]” feels like an erotic creation story in its own right, riven by blanks and pauses, as if to show us that connection is what is still aimed for, despite the disjuncture:


sometimes        she is    powered           with stars


sometimes along          her spine          his        ever

                      
after     beneath her                  sinking             passed into


the mouth        again at dawn               would take us


too far              this      is          story    in the


beginning         that stirless       rest together

(38-39).


In those pauses is a positing of the possible.

Friday, December 20, 2013

From Dunya Mikhail's amazing "Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea"

Poem of the Week:   
Dunya Mikhail    

   Photo by Michael Smith          



excerpt from Part One of 
Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea

Through your eye
history enters
and punctured helmets pour out.

Frequent tremors occur in your land
as if invisible hands shake your trees day and night.

They blockaded you and banished the oxygen from your water,
leaving the hydrogen atoms to quarrel with one another.

Shouldn't the nations be disturbed by the face of a child
who shuts her mouth and eyes
in surrender to UN resolutions?
But they only opened their own mouths slightly,
smaller than a bud,
as if yawning or smiling.

We made room in our day for every star,
and our dead remained without graves.

We wrote the names of each flower on the walls
and we, the sheep, drew the grass
--our favorite meal--
and we stood with our arms open to the air
so we looked like trees.
All this to change the fences into gardens.
A naïve bee was tricked and smashed into a wall,
flying toward what it thought was a flower.
Shouldn't the bee be able to fly over the fence-tops?

Long lines are in front of us.
Standing, we count flasks of flour on our fingers
and divide the sun among the communicating vessels.

We sleep standing in line
and the experts think up plans for vertical tombs
because we will die standing.


-Dunya Mikhail

Used by permission.
From Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea
(New Directions, 2009)  

Dunya Miikhail is an Iraqi-American poet, born in Baghdad in 1965, who left Iraq for the US (Michigan) in the mid-1990s. She has worked as a journalist for The Baghdad Observer and her work was found "subversive." She was awarded the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing in 2001, and her translator, Elizabeth Winslow, won a 2004 Pen Translation Fund Award. Her first book in English, The War Works Hard (New Directions, 2005, Carcanet, 2006) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and was named one of the 25 books to remember in 2005 by the New York Public Library. It was also translated into Italian by Elena Chiti and published by Edizioni San Marco dei Giustiniani (Rome, 2011). Mikhail'sDiary of A Wave Outside the Sea (New Directions, NY, 2009) won the 2010 Arab American Book Award. A new book of poetry, The Iraqi Nights, is forthcoming from New Directions in 2014.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 
Poem of the Week Open Call Closed 

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series is booked through the 2014 festival. We will not be accepting any new submissions during this time. Keep an eye out next Spring when we will open up the submissions again. Thanks for understanding!
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Split This Rock 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poetry in the Everyday Project: "Hope is the Thing With Feathers"



This is from Deena Ibrahim, who made paper cranes with Emily Dickinson's poem known popularly as "Hope is the Thing with Feathers."  It began as a project about Sadako, and morphed into this delivery system for poetry.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Despite"

Poem of the Week:   
Derrick Weston Brown   

         

Despite

for Sunil Tripathi of Brown University, named a suspect in the April Boston Marathon Bombing by Reddit although he had been missing since mid-March. His body was found nearly two weeks later. And for Salah Eddin Barhoum, an unnamed "Saudi Man," and "Brown Running Man," and all those who fit a description. 

Your brown skin is not a bomb.
Your brown skin does not mean bomb.
Though they doctor pictures.
Though they cry cowards.
Though drones may have your name on rolodex.
Though they cry why do they hate us so, with the ball of.....their foot on your neck.
Though they stop and frisk.
Though they shun background checks.
Though they throw stones and hide their hands.
Though they stroke gun butts.
Though they fondle sleek barrels in their sleep.
Though they run their hands through shotgun shells
.....like loose grain. 
Though their journalism is pale and piss colored.
Though they peer through their own monstrous veil.
Though they forget home grown rotted roots.
Though they pull weeds and crush seeds in other's gardens.
Though they flash your photos with reckless intent.
Though they posse up.
Though they scramble like keystone cops.
Though they shoot first.
Though they shoot first.
Your brown skin is not a bomb.
Your brown skin does not mean bomb.
Your breath is good mornings.
Your eyes are promises backed by
prayers uttered from the backs of throats
of those who love first and question later.
Your brown skin is a country
unblemished
free.


-Derrick Weston Brown

Used by permission.     

Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. He is the founding Poet-In-Residence of Busboys and Poets. He also teaches Creative Writing to High school and Middle school students in D.C. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland.  He was the 2012-2013 Writer-In-Residence of Howard County. His work has been published in such journals as, WarplandMythiumThe Drunken BoatTidal Basin ReviewLittle Patuxent Review and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. His first full length collection of poetry,  Wisdom Teeth, was released in 2011 on Busboys and Poets Press/ PM Press.  

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 
Poem of the Week Open Call Closed 

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series is booked through the 2014 festival. We will not be accepting any new submissions during this time. Keep an eye out next Spring when we will open up the submissions again. Thanks for understanding!
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nuclear

Naomi Ayala's "No. 13, for Remembering" (Split This Rock Poem of the Week!)

Poem of the Week:   
Naomi Ayala  

      
No. 13, for Remembering


Two blocks away
where yellow cabs
zip by without stopping
and the prostitute with the skinny legs
asks for a cigarette
from under her giant,
black umbrella,

in the corner's rain
where some children
are dangerous,
can tell our future
and bet on broken love
between the dreams,

I don't know where my hands begin
and my heart ends.

Oak trees line the sidewalk,
small birds carry spring twigs
above fast-food waste,
and the bold races of rats,
like ghosts of a lost memory,
point to the day of the week.

I don't know where the face of change
is not my own face.

A cold wind picks up.
A man abandons himself
to a tambourine and harmonica--
not praising, not denouncing,
only leaving this place with this sound.

I don't know where we will
end up and begin

but I want to note
that we have been here,
that we too were invisible
and we too were seen.


-Naomi Ayala

From Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations  
(Bilingual Review Press, 2013)

Used by permission.     

A native of Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala is the author of three books of poetry, Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press), This Side of Early (Curbstone Books: Northwestern University Press), and Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations (Bilingual Review Press). She is the translator of a book of poems by the Argentinean poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, The Wind's Archeology (Vaso Roto Ediciones: Mexico), winner of the 2013 International Latino Book Award for Best Nonfiction Book Translation. Among her other recognitions are a Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy of Environmental Justice Award and Special Recognition for Community Service from the U.S. Congress. Naomi received her MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 
Poem of the Week Open Call Closed 

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series is booked through the 2014 festival. We will not be accepting any new submissions during this time. Keep an eye out next Spring when we will open up the submissions again. Thanks for understanding!
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.