White House Postpones Poetry Symposium

White House Postpones Poetry Symposium

White House Postpones Poetry Symposium

Both MobyLives and Blog of a Bookslut have blogged this today, but what really struck me was the following statement from the White House: “While Mrs. Bush respects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she, too, has opinions and believes it would be inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum.”

While I appreciate that the First Lady is at least interested in books, and in promoting literacy, one has to wonder where on earth she got the idea that the “literary” is not political. Please. Good for Sam Hamill, Rita Dove, and Stanley Kunitz for leading the charge and refusing to be co-opted as some kind of safe, “nice,” “literary” sideshow.
Sam Hamill and Poets Against the War are calling on American poets to make ” Feb. 12 a day of Poetry Against the War. We will compile an anthology of protest to be presented to the White House on that afternoon.” Come on all you poets out there, let’s show the White House that poetry is not some nice safe occupation for an afternoon, no light diversion from the events of the day, but is, in the immortal words of Adrienne Rich, something “You must write, and read, as if you life depended on it.” (What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics)

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