Thursday, December 1, 2011

Creative Democracy: Poetry and the 99%

Split This Rock presented a panel on Tuesday at the George Washington University's University Writing Program's Forum on Democracy and Public Argument. Katherine Howell, GWU professor and Split This Rock blog goddess open the panel with some poems. Sarah Browning, Split This Rock Director, moderated the discussion between Kenneth Carroll, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Esther Iverem. At the end of the panel, Katherine led the audience in creating a cento, or patchwork, poem about the public voice in all its forms. The poem, and pictures from the panel, are below.

Striving to work hard, do good,
feel like fruitless efforts
Fermentation DIY, blackeyed peas & burnt
weiners, Godfather marinara notes scribbled
in a dark theater - recipes for trouble
Kenneth Carroll reads at the panel.
A voice amplified through
poetry is impossible to ignore
Mr. Ferguson screaming at the
night sky, take me! Imploring some
God who took his wife
A love song whistles, gathering -
round, square, triangled,
parallel: singing us home.

Sarah Browning looks on as Sonya Renee speaks.

For those whose blood had paved
freedom's road, I most owe my
voice to the asphalt of this journey.
A no-fly zone over
my voice, my womb,
my loves, my life.
A little stutter, a little shout.
emocycrad (can you say this?)
my public voice? - hidden
in these letters, a word there
but not here
that is not yet speech
Esther Iverem speaks at the panel.

Still wondering what the next
version of the movement
will look like
My public voice is forever vigilant
to hear wishing for wider fellowship
yearning for newsprint to open up
and release the anguish.

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