Poets Against War
Short History of Poets Against War
In late January 2003, in response to an invitation to a symposium by Laura Bush to celebrate "Poetry and the American Voice," Sam Hamill declined; a longtime pacifist, he could not in good faith visit the White House following the recent news of George W. Bush's plan for a unilateral "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq. Instead, he asked about 50 fellow poets to "reconstitute a Poets Against the War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam...to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend your names to our petition against this war” by submitting poems of protest that he would send to the White House. When 1,500 poets responded within four days, this web site was created as a means of handling the enormous, unexpected response.
Since then, the "accidental groundswell" grew to include poets from around the world. There are presently more than 20,000 poems in this, the largest poetry anthology ever published. Poems from Poets Against War have been presented in person, by invitation, to several representatives of the U.S. Congress; many of them have since been introduced into the Congressional Record.
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Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr.Freeport, N.Y.
Listed with Poets & Writers, Wheat is recipient (2003) of the second-annual Long Island Poet award of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association in South Huntington, New York.
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay...if your enemies are hungry, feed them;if they are thirsty, give them somethingto drink; for by doing this you will heapburning coals on their heads."
Romans 12: 19-20
Males and one womansip coffee mornings in the White
House,talk of desires about Iraq.For ten yearsLess-than-Elected-Vice-President Cheneyevolves The Plan,the Empire of the United States of America.
Empire building requires "pre-emptive strikes."When is the strategic time to promote a strike against Iraq?Not summer,not with Less-than-Elected-President Bush vacationing in Crawford,ensconced in his golf cart,quipping "crawfished" about
"From a marketing point of view,"says the White House Chief
of Staff,"you don't introduce new products in August."Oil waits in the Iraqi womb,second biggest oil field in the earth.
Think of the Oklahoma bombing.Whom did the bomber call "Collateral Damage"?Children.Think of bombing, invading Iraq.Half Iraq's population,CHILDREN.
"Brute force is going to prevail today."Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy"The Colonel," his men call him,son of two-tour Vietnam veteran,Company Commander, Persian Gulf War, 1991,Commander, Third Battalion, Fourth Marines 2003.He sits in front seat of armored Humveethirty yards from the Diyala River Bridge,gateway to southeastern Baghdad,encrypted radio phone nestled by his left ear.Hannibal with General George Patton appreciation of words."Lordy," he exclaims."Heck of a day. Good kills."
"Their blood is up," he brags of his men.Fifteen hundred Marinescrouch, empty machine guns, M-16s,splay mortar shells from Abrams tanks, armored assault vehicles."We're killing them like it's going out of style."He points to black smoke other side of the 150-foot span,boasts his men are establishing "violent supremacy.""We'll drill them" he asserts,learning suicide bombers are driving for the bridge.Boasts his "Boys are doing good."
Not all the Iraqui dead are resisters.Twenty bullet holes through front windshield of blue van.Bodies of two men in street clothes slumped in front seat.Body of woman in black chador crumpled on back floor.No cargo. No suitcases. No bombs."The crueler it is, the sooner it's over," philosophizes "The Colonel.""It's over for us when the last guy who wants to fight for Saddamhas flies crawling across his eyeballs."
Quotes from "Good Kills"
The New York Times Magazine
April 20, 2003--------------------------------
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr. is the featured poet on
www.poetryvlog.comMaxwell Corydon Wheat Jr. is this week's featured poet on
www.poetryvlog.com, reading his poem "Grandfather Loved the Salt
is a weekly video of original
poetry read by the poet. The videos run for
not more than about five minutes,
many less. Each featured poet's video
remains on the site in the archive
section, to be viewed at will.--------------------------------------
No vote for Nassau poet laureate candidate
BY SID CASSESE AND REID J. EPSTEIN
June 4, 2007, 10:36 PM EDT
A Nassau legislative comittee Monday voted down a proposal to name the county's first poet laureate, saying some of the nominee's writings were offensive to service members fighting overseas....
Wheat, 80, an award-winning member of the Long Island poetry community for about 40 years, was selected by a six-person committee. ...
The controversy surrounding his possible appointment stemmed primarily from his 2004 book of poems, "Iraq and Other Killing Fields: Poetry for Peace."...
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.
Its a shame that Wheat was rejected, although I honestly don't care much for his poetry. Here's one I like better (except for the line about the turban, typical projection) from the Poets Against War site:
The Gods Went Out The Door
the gods went out the door tonight
and not very quietly either
and they forgot to pull the door shut
so the cold wind is blasting in from outside
and I can hear truck sounds, the squeal
of tires, engine revs and boom boxes
and a woman’s scream from down the block
finds its way in; her husband, a vet, is home drunk
and he is trying to convince her that he is a god
and their little boy is crying in a back bedroom
and I can hear something else from very far away
louder even than the man’s ugly bellowing
it is the shriek of rockets falling in Baghdad, Gaza, Beirut
lighting the sky over an orchard where surprised bodies sprawl
it is a synagogue, a mosque erupting into flames
it is the moon exploding like an iridescent warhead
100 megatons, 100 million tons of nuclear winter
I hear it all, woman, man, child, rockets, moon
and now I hear the president on TV
he’s wearing a turban, he thinks he is a prophet
I hear the bubbles of Coca-Cola in his glass
the little grandiose thoughts fizzing up inside his head
I hear him think the words future, and futures
I hear them mix with god and the price of oil in his brain
and everything on the planet is breaking up
and the whole world’s voice is chattering like static
and I must hold myself, I must plug my ears to remember
how warm it was, how quiet it pretended to be.