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arts and culture | imperialism & war

Laura Bu$h--'no poetry at the White House'

The White House said Wednesday it postponed a poetry symposium because of concerns that the event would be politicized. Some poets had said they wanted to protest military action against Iraq.
White House Cancels Poetry Symposium

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-2362176,00.html
Thursday January 30, 2003 4:50 AM

NEW YORK (AP) - The White House said Wednesday it postponed a poetry symposium because of concerns that the event would be politicized. Some poets had said they wanted to protest military action against Iraq.

The symposium on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman was scheduled for Feb. 12. No future date has been announced.

``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.'' Noelia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush, said Wednesday.

Mrs. Bush, a former librarian who has made teaching and early childhood development her signature issues, has held a series of White House symposiums to salute America's authors. The gatherings are usually lively affairs with discussions of literature and its societal impact.

But the poetry symposium soon inspired a nationwide protest.

Sam Hamill, a poet and founder of the highly regarded Copper Canyon Press, declined the invitation and e-mailed friends asking for anti-war poems or statements. He encouraged those who planned to attend to bring along anti-war poems.

Hamill said he's gotten more than 1,500 contributions, including ones from poets W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

``I'm putting in 18-hour days. I'm 60 and I'm tired, but it's pretty wonderful,'' says Hamill, based in Port Townsend, Wash., and author of such works as ``Destination Zero'' and ``Gratitude.''

Marilyn Nelson, Connecticut's poet laureate, said Wednesday that she had accepted the White House invitation and had planned to wear a silk scarf with peace signs that she commissioned.

``I had decided to go because I felt my presence would promote peace,'' she said.

homepage: homepage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-2362176,00.html


That's OK 02.Feb.2003 01:06

The Redcoat

The right wing doesn't know what poetry is anyway.

Yep 02.Feb.2003 02:36

Ed Harley

There is no such thing as art that supports (or even is indifferent) the status quo. Art is born out of conflict, not complacency.

Silk scarf????? 02.Feb.2003 03:28

FIX THE PLUNGER

What exactly will a silk scarf with peace signs on it going to help ANYTHING!!!!!

poetry 02.Feb.2003 11:37

mike

Most of this culture doesn't understand poetry, period, right or left. Though it is axiomatic that most who write poetry are more left leaning in their life patterns. If it doesn't make money, it's of no use to mainstream. But actually that is good--it's less corruptible. And many of those who write poetry, do so from their spirit (there are of course the careerists who are mere technicians). Hamill is a wonderful poet and writer...I suspect Laura Bush of merely making a gesture toward the arts, though the last thing Bush and co ever want to support is poetry and the arts...no money in it, and too uncontrollable. words in art are powerful, and must be shunned, or the truth will out. imagine a bunch of poets wailing the truth at the white house at the Bushes, haha what a hoot, Who knows, maybe Hamill should have accepted....and used the opportunity to unleash some light upon the white house.