Saturday, June 16, 2007

This poem, along with visual art by Lisa Sette, is the latest offering from Broadsided Press. (See links.)

The Car Covenant

O give us individual mobility and daily we will embrace death.
Give us miles to the gallon and things made small by moving swiftly away.
We will sacrifice certain teenagers to the oak tree.

Make the sunrise manifest in the sideview and the periphery a roar of shouldercorn.
Make our existence portable beyond the white picket fence with internal combustion.
Ours will be the Kerouac and the Conoco, those empty shells of orangegreen HoJos.

Give us eternal direction divided by nice green strips, the whirring sound of pistonbirth.
Make the miles a whetstone to our way, the highmetal quick to the skyheavy horizon.
We will aisle it with junk and liquid drug, with the sacrament of Big Mac and more gas.

Make us in you all ergonomic and airconditioned, arrive us deodored and relieved, ready
whenever to leave.
Take us fast into the samemore, diminish everything left behind us.
We will eat the doubleyellow in the blackscreennight.

We will go wakka wakka wakka,
O sing, wakka wakka wakka.

Poet Robert Strong lives north of the Adirondack park and bikes to work year round. He is editor of Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry and author of Puritan Spectacle, from which this poem is adapted.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My friend the poet Mario Noel Rodriguez of El Salvador sent me the following statement, signed by many of Colombia’s writers, artists, and intellectuals, addressing the intractable bloody civil war there. I have brought it over into English as best I could, but I include the original also for those who can read Spanish.

For those who do not know about the recent history and present situation of Colombia, you’ll find the women’s commission report on the war here. It is clear why this conflict continues to rage out of control, not so clear how to stop it.

CNN calls this “War Without End” — their site is a fine place to start to try to understand the complex issues that are driving the ongoing slaughter:

And so, here is the letter:

by La Paz of Colombia

Indignant and hurt by the war that devastates our country, by the continuation of paramilitary barbarism, by the infamy of clandestine cemeteries and schools of butchery, by a Law of Justice and Peace that is neither peace nor justice, but prizes and the pardon for the worse assassins in the history of Colombia, by laws that, in addition, hide the truth, the very principle and essence of justice; by the politicians throughout the country who sponsored the formation of those criminal groups, by the ruling corruption in the Colombian State; by three million displaced, the majority of them mothers and their children. By increasing social inequality, by the despoliation of the territory of the indigenous populations and the black communities, by increasing violations of sovereignty, by internal and external powers that profit from the business of the war, by kidnapping, and by the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the violence that has bathed the entire country in blood, and by the grief we feel for all those whom we have lost, the Colombian artists and intellectuals, reunited in Medellín in National Encuentro of Art and Poetry by La Paz of Colombia, want our voice heard in the middle of the roar of the war. Witnesses of this tragic historical moment, we propose the creation of a cultural movement ample and united in diversity, impelled by artists and intellectuals, who are the eyes, the ears and the critical reflection of our reality, that maintains bridges with other social movements that today show in the street their refusal of the war, the injustice, the social inequality, the privatization of public education, the exploitation of our natural patrimony and the Free Trade Agreement with the US. United, we will look for the truth, inseparable from justice. This kind of justice has never existed in the history of Colombia. We cannot find meaning in our lives if there is no memory, if there is no truth, if there is no justice — and if there are no reparations for the victims. A humanitarian agreement is the first and foremost condition for the ccreation of La Paz. As artists, writers and intellectuals we are called to resistance by the culture, by principles of tolerance and justice, by life itself. If the armies in struggle want La Paz, they must cease fire and accept an honest dialogue, facing the country and the international community. The indigenous territories must be respected and the displaced ones cannot continue carrying the burden of exile in a context of indolent indifference. We want the country to change; let this be pronounced from the factory, the office, the house, the school, the street and the fields. We pledge to make available all our capacities of thought and creativity to construct ways that allow us to surpass these times of barbarism. We know that it is possible.

Signed: Francisco Zumaqué (composer and musician), Vicky Hernandez (movie actress and TV), Nicholas Suescun (poet), Antonio Arnedo (composer and musician), Alvaro Miranda (poet), Santiago Garci'a (dramatist), Hollman Morris (journalist), Libardo Sarmiento (journalist), Jotamario Arbeláez (poet), Fernando Rendón (poet), Gabriel Frank Jaime (poet), Julian Malatesta (poet), Jorge Enrique Wineskin maker (journalist), Alvaro Marín (poet), Ricardo Camacho (dramatist), Hugo Jamioy Juagibioy (poet), White Marisol (journalist), Guillermo González Uribe (writer and publisher) Sergio de Zubiría (philosopher), Eduardo Go'mez (poet), Horacio Benavides (poet), Gustavo Tatis War (poet), Juan Carlos Moyano (director of theater and actor), Manuel Giraldo ˆMagil- (novelist), Fabio Martinez (writer), Patricia Ariza (actress), Diego Arango (painter), Jaime Barbini (dramatist), Pedro Badrán Padauí (writer), Ignacio Go'mez (journalist), Pedro Arturo Estrada (poet), Carlos Lozano (journalist), Noelle Schonwald (TV actress), Daniel Rocha (actor), Alberto Donadío (journalist and investigator), Silvia Galvis (journalist and novelist), Lucia González (director of the Museum of Antioquia), Constanza Vieira (journalist), Harold Kremer (narrative), Arming Orozco (poet), Lucia Estrada (poet), Andrea Cote (poet), Giovanny Go'mez (poet), Robinson Quintero (poet), Light Mery Giraldo (poet), Ramon Cote (poet), Fernando Linero (poet), Miguel Iriarte (poet), Tallulah Flórez (poet), Efraim Medina (writer), Federico the Distinguished Diaz (poet), Marine Light Aguirre (actress), Eva Durán (poet), Oscar Yearling calf (journalist), Ricardo Cuellar (poet), Darío Sanchez (poet), Berrío Morning call (poet), Jose Martinez (writer), Edgar Bastidas (writer), Jairo Ojeda (musical), Tatiana Mejía (poet), Ricardo Go'mez (musical), Amalia Lu Posso (writer), Julian Rodriguez (musical), Zabier Hernandez (poet), Gloria Chvatal (painter), Jorge Iván Grisales (actor), Ángela Garci'a (poet), Carlos Satizábal (actor), Haydé Marín (music), Marine Light Lopez (journalist), Winston Clubs (painter), Put Honorio (theater director), Catherine King (promotional cultural), Dark Frame (promotional cultural), Libardo Clubs (writer), Iván Cepeda (defending of DDHH), Hugo Ceballos (painter), Luis Galar (poet), Trimming Cajamarca (dramatist), Arming to Rodriguez Crossbowmen (poet), Gonzalo Márquez Christ (poet and publisher), Francisco Javier Buitrago (designer), Ana Milena Door (poet), Luisa Aguilar (poet), Fabio Garrido (singing of rock), Shelter Ines Osorio (poet), Winston Moral (poet), Nahum Múnera (actor), Alfredo Ortiz (promotional cultural), Rafael Field of broom of Andreis (poet) Pablo Mauricio Lopez (lawyer), Freddy Chicangana (poet), Edgar the Lozanos (poet), Ana Magdalena Renjifo (educational), Marleny Mejía Jaramillo (poet), Jairo Buitrago (writer), Jesus Gualdrón (university professor), Hernando Moral (composer), Hernando War (poet); Maria Isabel Borrero (designer), Irina Junieles (poet), Jácome Daisy (investigator), Jose Left, narrative Ignacio; Everardo Rendón (poet), Janeth Núñez Maroquín (poet), Víctor de Currea Soon (poet and doctor), Hildebrando Vélez (environmentalist), Carlos Fajardo (poet), Carlos Patiño (poet), Francisco Amín (investigator), Manuel Pachón (poet), Claudia Roa (translator), Gilberto Ávila Creek (musical), Matilde Eljach (educational college student), Javier Rodrizales (poet), Miguel Beltrán Angel (university professor), Estheiman Amaya Solano (journalist), Héctor Sands (manager), Mauricio the Vidals (poet), Miryam Montoya (poet), Augusto Field of broom (university professor), Hope Stolen Saravia (sociologist), Marta Renza (writer), Thorny Fabio (Lic. Literature), Castilian Abadio Green (poet), Luis Darío Bernal Pinilla (doctor), Omar Ardila (poet and ensayista), Carlos May (poet), Víctor Raul Jaramillo (poet), Olga Lucia Field of broom (cultural manager), Sophia Sophia (cantautora), Hernando Urriago (poet), Heraclio Ant Ordo'ñez (Distrital Committee of the Function and position of agent), Odilia Leon (Association of Women by La Paz of Colombia), Ana (Corporation of Colombo-Cuban Solidarity), Second Cardozo, Dark Diva (Committee of Political Prisoners), Luis Carlos Domínguez (lawyer), Crispín Otavo (indigenous leader), Manuel Aguirre (Aceu leader), Iván Mallet (poet), Jose G. Daniels (poet).

and here is the Spanish original:

Carta de los artistas e intelectuales por la paz de Colombia

Indignados y dolidos por la guerra que arrasa al país, por la continuación de la barbarie paramilitar, por la infamia de sus cementerios clandestinos y sus escuelas de descuartizamiento, por una Ley de Justicia y Paz que no es de paz ni de justicia, sino el premio y el perdón para los peores asesinos en la historia de Colombia y que, además, esconde la verdad, principio y esencia de la justicia; por los políticos de todo el país que patrocinaron la formación de esos grupos criminales, por la corrupción reinante en el Estado colombiano; por los tres millones de desplazados, la mayoría madres de familia y sus niños y niñas. Por la creciente desigualdad social, por el despojo del territorio de las poblaciones indígenas y de las comunidades negras, por la creciente violación de la soberanía, por los poderes internos y externos que se benefician del negocio de la guerra, por el secuestro, y sobre todo por los centenares de miles de víctimas inocentes de la violencia que ha bañado en sangre al país desde siempre, y por el dolor de todos los que han perdido a sus seres queridos, los artistas e intelectuales colombianos, reunidos en Medellín en el Encuentro Nacional de Arte y Poesía por la Paz de Colombia, queremos que nuestra voz se oiga en medio del estruendo de la guerra.

Testigos de este trágico momento histórico, proponemos la creación de un movimiento cultural amplio y unido en la diversidad, impulsado por artistas e intelectuales, que sea los ojos, los oídos y la reflexión crítica de nuestra realidad, y que tienda puentes con otros movimientos sociales que hoy manifiestan en la calle su inconformidad con la guerra, la inequidad, la desigualdad social, la privatización de la educación pública, la expoliación de nuestro patrimonio natural y el Tratado de Libre Comercio con Estados Unidos.

Todos juntos buscaremos la verdad, inseparable de la justicia. Justicia que, por lo demás, no ha existido en toda la historia de Colombia. No encontraremos sentido a nuestra vida si no hay memoria, si no hay verdad, si no hay justicia y si no hay reparación para las víctimas. Un acuerdo humanitario es el primer paso para la necesaria e inaplazable construcción de la paz.

Los artistas, escritores e intelectuales llamamos a conformar una resistencia por la cultura de la vida, la tolerancia y la justicia. Si los ejércitos en pugna quieren la paz, que detengan el fuego y acepten un diálogo honesto, de cara al país y a la comunidad internacional.

Los territorios indígenas deben ser respetados y los desplazados no pueden seguir arrastrando la crisis del destierro en un contexto de indolente indiferencia. Deseamos que el país se mueva, que se manifieste desde la fábrica, la oficina, la casa, la escuela, la calle y el campo. Y ponemos a disposición toda nuestra capacidad de pensamiento y creación para construir caminos que nos permitan superar estos tiempos de barbarie. Sabemos que es posible.


Francisco Zumaqué (compositor y músico), Vicky Hernández (actriz de cine y TV), Nicolás Suescun (poeta), Antonio Arnedo (compositor y músico), Álvaro Miranda (poeta), Santiago García (dramaturgo), Hollman Morris (periodista), Libardo Sarmiento (periodista), Jotamario Arbeláez (poeta), Fernando Rendón (poeta), Gabriel Jaime Franco (poeta), Julián Malatesta (poeta), Jorge Enrique Botero (periodista), Álvaro Marín (poeta), Ricardo Camacho (dramaturgo), Hugo Jamioy Juagibioy (poeta), Marisol Cano (periodista), Guillermo González Uribe (escritor y editor), Sergio de Zubiría (filósofo), Eduardo Gómez (poeta), Horacio Benavides (poeta), Gustavo Tatis Guerra (poeta), Juan Carlos Moyano (director de teatro y actor), Manuel Giraldo ˆMagil- (novelista), Fabio Martínez (escritor), Patricia Ariza (actriz), Diego Arango (pintor), Jaime Barbini (dramaturgo), Pedro Badrán Padauí (escritor), Ignacio Gómez (periodista), Pedro Arturo Estrada (poeta), Carlos Lozano (periodista), Noelle Schonwald (actriz de TV), Daniel Rocha (actor), Alberto Donadío (periodista e investigador), Silvia Galvis (periodista y novelista), Lucía González (directora del Museo de Antioquia), Constanza Vieira (periodista), Harold Kremer (narrador), Armando Orozco (poeta), Lucía Estrada (poeta), Andrea Cote (poeta), Giovanny Gómez (poeta), Robinson Quintero (poeta), Luz Mery Giraldo (poeta), Ramón Cote (poeta), Fernando Linero (poeta), Miguel Iriarte (poeta), Tallulah Flórez (poeta), Efraim Medina (escritor), Federico Díaz Granados (poeta), Luz Marina Aguirre (actriz), Eva Durán (poeta), Oscar Becerra (periodista), Ricardo Cuellar (poeta), Darío Sánchez (poeta), Diana Berrío (poeta), José Martínez (escritor), Edgar Bastidas (escritor), Jairo Ojeda (músico), Tatiana Mejía (poeta), Ricardo Gómez (músico), Amalia Lu Posso (escritora), Julián Rodríguez (músico), Zabier Hernández (poeta), Gloria Chvatal (pintora), Jorge Iván Grisales (actor), Ángela García (poeta), Carlos Satizábal (actor), Haydé Marín (música), Luz Marina López (periodista), Winston Porras (pintor), Honorio Posada (director de teatro), Catalina Rey (promotora cultural), Marco Prieto (promotor cultural), Libardo Porras (escritor), Iván Cepeda (defensor de DDHH), Hugo Ceballos (pintor), Luis Galar (poeta), Orlando Cajamarca (dramaturgo), Armando Rodríguez Ballesteros (poeta), Gonzalo Márquez Cristo (poeta y editor), Francisco Javier Buitrago (diseñador), Ana Milena Puerta (poeta), Luisa Aguilar (poeta), Fabio Garrido (cantante de rock), Amparo Inés Osorio (poeta), Winston Morales (poeta), Nahum Múnera (actor), Alfredo Ortiz (promotor cultural), Rafael Escobar de Andreis (poeta), Pablo Mauricio López (abogado), Freddy Chicangana (poeta), Edgar Lozano (poeta), Ana Magdalena Renjifo (docente), Marleny Mejía Jaramillo (poeta), Jairo Buitrago (escritor), Jesús Gualdrón (profesor universitario), Hernando Morales (compositor), Hernando Guerra (poeta); María Isabel Borrero (diseñadora), Irina Junieles (poeta), Margarita Jácome (investigadora), José Ignacio Izquierdo, narrador; Everardo Rendón (poeta), Janeth Núñez Maroquín (poeta), Víctor de Currea Luego (poeta y médico), Hildebrando Vélez (ambientalista), Carlos Fajardo (poeta), Carlos Patiño (poeta), Francisco Amín (investigador), Manuel Pachón (poeta), Claudia Roa (traductora), Gilberto Ávila Rivera (músico), Matilde Eljach (docente universitaria), Javier Rodrizales (poeta), Miguel Angel Beltrán (profesor universitario), Estheiman Amaya Solano (periodista), Héctor Arenas (gestor), Mauricio Vidales (poeta), Miryam Montoya (poeta), Augusto Escobar (profesor universitario), Esperanza Hurtado Saravia (socióloga), Marta Renza (escritora), Fabio Espinosa (Lic. Literatura), Abadio Green (poeta), Luis Darío Bernal Pinilla (médico), Omar Ardila (poeta y ensayista), Carlos Mayo (poeta), Víctor Raúl Jaramillo (poeta), Olga Lucía Escobar (gestora cultural), Sophia Sophia (cantautora), Hernando Urriago (poeta), Heraclio Hormiga Ordóñez (Comité Distrital de la Personería), Odilia León (Asociación de Mujeres por la Paz de Colombia), Ana Castellanos ( Corporación de Solidaridad Colombo-Cubana), Segundo Cardozo, Diva Prieto (Comité de Presos Políticos), Luis Carlos Domínguez (abogado), Crispín Otavo (dirigente indígena), Manuel Aguirre (dirigente Aceu), Iván Mazo (poeta), José G. Daniels (poeta).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Eduardo Galeano

Uruguayan essayist, journalist and historian.

Galeano's best-known works include the trilogy Memoria del fuego (1982-1986, Memory of Fire) and Las venas abiertas de América Latina (1971, The Open Veins of Latin America), which have been translated into some 20 languages. Galeano’s work transcends orthodox genres, and combines documentary, fiction, journalism, political analysis, and history. Among the writers at work now, he has most successfully integrated the aesthetic and the ethical, or in other words, the joyful and the political. His work is at once engaged, playful, and deeply respectful of the real wisdom of la gente, the people, the democracy in exile, if you will, that is our real homeland, no matter where we live in the capitalist economy, no matter where we have been born in the history of imperial greed. The author himself has denied that he is a historian: "I'm a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America above all and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia."

Here are some places to begin to learn about Galeano:

Writer Without Borders
By Scott Witmer

Eduardo Galeano disdains borders, both in life and in literature. Exiled from his native Uruguay after the 1973 military coup, he returned to Montevideo in 1985, where he continues to live and write. Galeano’s books subvert the distinctions between history, poetry, memoir, political analysis and cultural anthropology. With a graceful sense of craft, he uses “only words that really deserve to be there” to convey a humanely moral perspective on matters both personal and political. His writing honors the experiences of everyday life as a contrast to the mass media that “manipulates consciousness, conceals reality and stifles the creative imagination … in order to impose ways of life and patterns of consumption.” By multiplying seldom heard voices, Galeano refutes the official lies that pass for history—his work represents an eloquent, literary incarnation of social justice.

Witmer’s interview with Galeano

excerpts from the book Upside Down: A Primer For The Looking Glass World

Galeano’s “Democracy Now” interview with Amy Goodman

Eduardo Galeano: the open veins of McWorld an interview by Niels Boel

another interview at Identity Theory