Monday, December 31, 2007
Do you have memories of great film or video exploration of poems or the role of poetry in witness and provocation? If so, leave a comment and links if available.
TO THE GOVERNOR & LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS
When I took a job teaching in Massachusetts
I didn't know and no one told me that I'd have to sign
An oath of loyalty to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Now that I'm hooked, though, with a house
And a mortgage on the house, the road ahead
Is clear: I sign. But I want you gentlemen to know
That till today it never once occurred to me
To overthrow the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
By violence or subversion, or by preaching either.
But now I'm not so sure. It makes a fellow think,
Can such things be? Can such things be in the very crib
Of our liberties, and East of the Hudson, at that?
So if the day come that I should shove the Berkshire Hills
Over the border and annex them to Vermont,
Or snap Cape Cod off at the elbow and scatter
Hyannis to Provincetown beyond the twelve-mile limit,
Proclaiming apocalypsopetls to my pupils
And with state troopers dripping from my fingertips
Squeaking "You promised, you broke your promise!"
You gentlemen just sit there with my signature
And keep on lawyer-talking like nothing had happened,
Lest I root out that wagon tongue on Bunker Hill
And fungo your Golden Dome right into Fenway Park
Like any red-celled American boy ought to done
Long ago in the first place, just to keep in practice.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
In it, Ghahramani talks about how the work of Federico García Lorca inspired her as a young woman living under Iran's dictatorship. She became involved in the peaceful student protests and Garcia Lorca was an inspiring model for her during this time.
...I raised my voice in the street, along with thousands of other student protesters. I believed I was keeping faith with García Lorca, and also with the great poets Saadi and Hafez of long-ago Persia, who honored love and liberty.
-- Zarah Ghahramani
It's a moving testament to the power of poetry to inspire and to agitate. I was reminded of Dennis Nurkse at the Cut Loose the Body reading who spoke of García Lorca's martyrdom for freedom and his example of one who was tortured for his beliefs and his standing against tyranny. -- Dan Vera
You can read the entire essay here.