The past 6 weeks have been to an assault on the collective nervous system of this nation and the world. A new President with a variety of dicey dudes and former daisy dukes have moved in. It feels like a parody except people are being deported; health care is being altered; houses of worship (mosques, synagogues and churches) have been desecrated and bomb threats called in across the U.S. And people have been murdered. It has been over several decades since the “peaceful” transfer of power has brought so much violence, fear and yes response. We talk about backlash as exclusively on the right, but of course that is not true. Many people: moderate, liberal, progressive and even further left are on line, on the phone, in the offices of their “representatives”, in the streets. Too early to call it an uprising, but #resistance is good.
In the meanwhile, poets have organized many events and are developing language in response to these tumultuous times. As well we should. The past few years have seen so much change–some very good; some very very bad–and our work as poets, writers and artists is consider those changes. In the Raoul Peck documentary on James Baldwin, there is a passage where JB talks about being a witness and a participant–how they often bleed into each other. Right now, whether we want to or not we are witnessing deep stresses on our democracy. And we are participating as citizens in response. No one other than the propagandists are writing the script. None of us knows how any of this will turn out. We have our hopes and our fears.
As a poet, I do what poets always do. I write. I publish. I join in the festival of words that help all of live our lives. I am grateful for the wit, wisdom, anger and anguished displayed over the past several weeks.
Over the past several months, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my work online and in a number of anthologies. Here are three recent ones–check them out, get them, get them in your library. You will be pleased with your choices.