What Poetry Changes

A favorite writing spot: VMFA

For the second year, I’ve agreed to organize Richmond’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change. As of this writing, venues in 700 cities and 110 countries, in such far away places as Cairo Egypt, Port Au Prince Haiti, and Ulanbaataar Mongolia, are participating Continue reading

Impermanence and Presence

The poet sits at her table to write. She must do so. She is compelled. Words lure her to the blank page like a beckoning lover. Sometimes the lover welcomes the meeting with complete attention. Other times the hoped for embrace disappears. Perhaps the meeting was a fantasy. Or the lover has a change of mind. No guarantees.

Jane Hirshfield summarizes the motivation of Basho, 16th C Japanese haiku master in Continue reading

100 Thousand Poets for Change

A historic global poetry event is about to take place!

To date, 650 events in 450 cities and 95 countries will take place on September 24 to promote environmental, social, and political change through poetry. Poets, writers, and artists will create, perform and demonstrate in their communities with a focus on peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Poetry demonstrations are being organized in political hotspots such as Madison, Wisconsin and Cairo, Egypt. Poetry and peace gatherings are planned in strife-torn Kabul and Jalalabad. In Mexico there are over 30 events, with 18 poetic actions in Mexico City. Find out what’s happening in your city or offer to organize an event.

Poet and founder Michael Rothenberg started 100 Thousand Poets for Change. He wanted to direct attention to dialog and poetry and away from violent actions and rhetoric.

I’m asking that Richmond poets and readers of poetry — teachers, students, and all poetic word lovers — get involved by participating in Chalking for Poetry.

Find a poem or create one. Choose a poem that celebrates positive living and a sustainable vision for the future. We’ll meet at Cafe Ole (2901 W. Cary St.) in Carytown from noon to 3 on Saturday, September 24. Chalk your poem in the parking lot or along the sidewalk. Get a friend or stranger to join in. Start a conversation. Share your love for poetic expression and your hopes for the planet.

If you can’t make it to Cafe Ole, write the poem on a wall, playground, or any other welcome public space. Take a picture and include it in the official website. (Scroll down on the right to find Richmond VA.) All material is being cataloged at Stanford University.