Monday, May 12, 2008

Help Patricia Smith Write Her A** Off, NYWC Write-A-THon

This just in from Patricia Smith:

I’m a participant in the third annual daylong writing marathon sponsored by the New York Writers Coalition, an organization that offers groundbreaking creative writing workshops to the city’s under-served communities.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 17 at Manhattan’s Center for Independent Publishing, I’ll take my place along other ambitious wordsmiths, and—energized by your generous pledge—will write and workshop for EIGHT WHOLE HOURS (interrupted only by breaks for toilette and light sustenance).

Who knows? I may even be able to finish that blank verse novella I’m writing for our soon-to-be-ex President George Bush. All single syllable words of no more than three letters. No complex contractions. Pages to color.

Please visit my donation page ( and help me help the NYWC do their wondrous work, teaching the power of the written word to seniors, the homeless and at-risk youth. Once a word reaches the page, it’s ready for the open air. And once it reaches the open air, it belongs to everyone.

Thanks in advance for your huge heart. For more information about the NYWC, visit

Hugs from here,


Thursday, May 8, 2008

News from poet peace activist Henry Braun

Some news from this afternoon in Bangor, Maine. We, the "Bangor 6", were acquitted for our civil disobedience a year ago in Sen. Collins' office. The Split This Rock people might be encouraged by this.

Here's a description from a local newspaper about yesterday's court proceedings.
oday we were all acquitted. Let civil resistance to this war thrive!

Henry Braun

Local peace activists testify at Bangor trial

Robert Shetterly, left, and Doug Rawlings, two of the six people charged with criminal trespass and on trial for refusing to leave the office of U.S. Senator Susan Collins at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor on March 7, 2007. The trial concludes Wednesday. (Lynn Ellis photo)

By Lee Sharkey

BANGOR - Two Farmington-area peace activists, Doug Rawlings and Henry Braun, had their day in court today.

Along with four other activists, they are on trial as a result of refusing to leave the Federal Building in Bangor, where Senator Susan Collins has an office, on March 7, 2007. They had come to the office to get Senator Collins, who had refused on numerous occasions to meet with them, to listen to their arguments for cutting off funding for the Iraq War.

Rawlings and Braun’s defense to the charge of criminal trespass is that their intent was not to break a law but to act on their responsibility as citizens to uphold a higher law, the Constitution of the United States, and to resist actions that undermine it. The United States is a signatory to the Nuremberg Principles, which define preemptive wars such as the Iraq War as war crimes. The Constitution states that international treaties agreed to by the United States are “the supreme law of the land.”

A veteran of the Vietnam War and a founding member of Veterans for Peace, Rawlings testified that he and other members of the organization have devoted their lives to abolishing war. He recounted a VFW conference at which Iraq war veterans pleaded with other vets to help them end this war.

“I had,” Rawlings said, “a sincere and deep obligation to speak to Senator Collins on behalf of the American soldier; I carried the veterans of the Iraq war with me.”

Braun is a poet who has been engaged since the 1960s in peaceful anti-war activities. Responding to the Assistant District Attorney’s question about why he chose to stay in the Federal Building rather than “go home,” he said, “I believed I was at home there, in the building with the Bill of Rights on the wall. It tells me that as a citizen I have the right to redress of grievances. I was grieving. We all are feeling the grief of this war.”

The trial continues tomorrow with closing arguments, Judge Michaela Murphy’s instructions to the jury, and the jury’s deliberations.


Last week, they were all acquitted!

Winners of First Split This Rock Poetry Contest Now Online

The three winning poems in the first Split This Rock Poetry Contest are now online;
First Place: Jeffrey Thomson (left), "Achilles in Jasper, Texas"
Second Place: Persis M. Karim, "Ways to Count the Dead"
Third Place: David-Matthew Barnes, "Latin Freestyle"