Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'll Take "Plowshares" over Ploughshares Most Days

I began this blog nearly a year and a half ago, and I've found myself drawn equally--and maybe more--to the representations of dissent resistance increasingly available online--than simply to the poetry of dissent and resistance. Why is that?

Though I have recently co-edited a volume of peace poetry (Come Together: Imagine Peace), done a critical investigation of resistance poetry (Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941), and continue to write poems and review works of poetry, I find the major energies of poetry to be separate from the energies of the peace movement. At times, I'm disappointed with contemporary American poetry and its self-satisfactions, the ways in which it reflects its own cultural self-preoccupations. At other times, I'm disappointed by the peace movement's own foci and self-narrations. Still, something in me finds "Plowshares" (the campaign of radical symbolic actions for nuclear disarmament and demilitarization) more vital than Ploughshares (the highly esteemed literary journal). But I can't live without either the peace drive (pace Freud), or the poetry drive. So I give thanks that each exists, even if they exist in their own spheres. May some intrepid poets be the Venn between those spheres.

A Tribute to Tom Lewis

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