Friday, February 25, 2011

Poetry of Protest: Wisconsin

Yesterday, Split This Rock received an remarkable e-mail from Verse Wisconsin, an online literary journal based in Madison, WI. In light of the recent protests against Governor Walker's move to eliminate collective bargaining rights (among other things), the editors of Verse Wisconsin have begun publishing poetry in support of the protesters. It's an inspiring display of solidarity and demonstrates that, especially now, poetry can be an integral component of political action.

The text of the email follows:

I wanted to let you know that we started publishing poems about the protests last week at Verse Wisconsin. Currently we have them on our home page,, and on our Facebook page,!/pages/Verse-Wisconsin/141684637141. This was a spontaneous gesture on our part to events--we weren't sure what we would get. We've been amazed & moved by many of the pieces, both visual & text-based--their passion and their intelligence.

The Poet Laureate's position for WI has also been discontinued by Gov. Walker & will go into effect after the current laureate, Bruce Dethlefsen, serves his term. It's a really small thing compared to the larger issues: the threatened loss of bargaining rights, medicaid coverage, huge regressive pay cuts for state employees, and whatever is to come but hasn't yet been revealed. All of these things together point to Walker's war on what Wisconsin stands for as a progressive state, as I'm sure you are well aware.

I got to attend the Split This Rock panel on The Poet As Public Citizen at AWP, a wonderful session. It's in no small way due to being there, that prompted my co-editor & me to try to bring these two things together--the protests and poetry--at Verse Wisconsin, and I'm very grateful for your example.
- A Wisconsin Poet

Be sure to sure to show your support by visiting Verse Wisconsin's website & Facebook page, and if you happen to be in Madison - lend your voice.

Power to the people.

1 comment:

Gail White said...

Even though I'm afraid the protestors are doomed, we can vote all the Republicans out in the next election. They have become the bane of America, and they have too many people fooled, so write on!