My second post, “Suheir Hammad, ‘breaking poems’ (Cypher Books, 2008)” (in which I’ve included and edited my original breaking poems post is up at the Poetry Foundation blog. Here’s an excerpt:
And so for those American poets who doubt the existence or relevance of well-written political poetry in the USA, for those who think “political poetry” is just a post-9/11 fad, I would say to leave your comfy little academic and abstract circles and open your minds to poets coming out of communities of color, immigrant communities, multilingual communities, communities of working folk and families, these American poets’ communities, and see that “political poetry” has always existed, has always been necessary, has always been crafted and spoken and sang, has always served to educate, inspire, and mobilize its constituents.
My first post, “San Francisco Poet Al Robles (1930-2009)” is up on the Poetry Foundation blog. Here is an excerpt:
Al Robles was an activist, at the forefront of the movement to stop the demolition of the I-Hotel, which housed elderly and low income tenants, many of whom we’ve come to know as the “Manongs,” elder Filipino Americans, or Pinoys, who spent their youths as migrant labor in West Coast agriculture and canneries, and as US veterans who fought in WWII. He brought young activists and artists to Agbayani Village in Delano, a rural settlement of these Manongs, and to the WWII Japanese American internment camps at Tule Lake and Manzanar. He believed it was important for young activists and artists to see these places with their own eyes, to hear the stories of these places firsthand. Robles’s activism was closely tied to his poetic work; in fact, his activism and poetry were one and the same. He believed poets should bring themselves into the world.