Saturday, September 06, 2008
A New Wave of Political Poetry
It is difficult/to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there. -William Carlos Williams
Need a little reality check after bearing witness to the madness of the Republican Convention?
The newly published anthology of contemporary political poetry, State of the Union : 50 Political Poems, by Wave Books might help.
The compilation is edited by Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder and features the work of John Ashbery, Anselm Berrigan, Lucille Clifton, CAConrad, Peter Gizzi, James Tate, John Yau, Tao Lin, Eileen Myles, Michael Palmer, Wang Ping, and many others.
Heidi Broadhead has a nice interview with Beckman and Zapruder about the project over at Amazon's book blog, Omnivoracious.
"It has been clear to everyone for a long time that this current presidential election was going to be a historic one, with far-reaching consequences for the U.S. and the world. We wanted as editors, and poets, to contribute to the conversation at this crucial time, by putting together an anthology of poetry that would engage with the themes and issues that confront us, in ways that only poetry can."
"In creating this anthology we tried very hard not to have a definition of what a political poem was, while still constantly asking the question of what makes a political poem. I think we searched for work that felt like it was genuinely motivated by the needs of our present political circumstance."
Also of note - All royalties for State of the Union will be donated to Swords to Plowshares, a not-for-profit organization devoted to reducing homelessness and poverty among veterans through advocacy, public education and partnerships with local, state and national entities.
Here's to hoping it's a bestseller, god knows the vets need it!