28 September 2008

Poems Against War: Ars Poetica

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It also seems to me that those of us on this side of the political spectrum have to do more than just be against something. Here in Baltimore we’ve seen a former mayor’s administration plaster posters and bumper stickers all around the city asking us to “Believe.” Fine – Believe in what? So too with those of us against the war: we are anti-war, but what do we believe in? What are we for? What does the alternative to war look like, smell like, taste like?

Poetry helps to answer these questions by giving both writers and readers visions of the possible. While giving comfort and pleasure to readers and listeners and speaking to what’s happening now, poets also help to create the future. Not that we versifiers know more than anyone else about what tomorrow will look like, but rather, through our work, we insist that there must BE a future, that there’s something out there worth living for. Something worth bringing the troops back home to.

The rest of my Ars Poetica: Roses in a Time of War, and work by Antler, Tony Hoagland, and others (with paintings MinĂ¡s Konsolas) debuts in Poems Against War #7 at the Baltimore Book Festival Sunday (9/28/08).

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