Friday, May 12, 2006

Poems in Response to the War

Hi--after hitting the wall, the well's a little dry. Serendipitously, I got this press release this morning from Beltway Poetry Quarterly, so that's the topic for today! It's free and it's a REACTION:

Beltway Poetry Quarterly, the region's premiere on-line poetry journal, announces The Wartime Issue, an anthology of poems by 46 authors from the Mid-Atlantic region, writing in response to the ongoing presence of the American military in Iraq. The issue can be read for free on-line at: http://washingtonart.com/beltway.html.

In her Introduction to the issue, Guest Editor Sarah Browning writes: "When the politicians are compliant and the press is distracted by the next sparkly thing, the poets continue to believe, to speak out, and to say no to fear."

Poets in the issue are all ages, races, and ethnicities. They are gay and straight, and represent a wide variety of religious faiths. Some have many books of poetry to their name and for some, this is their first publication. The poets also take a diversity of approaches to the war in Iraq, telling the story of the war's impact on individuals, families, and communities at home, on members of the Armed Services, and on the people of Iraq.

Browning's introduction explains: "The poems here tell stories – of loss and of connection despite the anguish. 'A part of us vanishes each day,' writes Adam Chiles in 'Tucson Elegy.' 'We suffer another missed touch,' Venus Thrash tells us in her poem, 'Ritual.' The poems won't let us forget. When the war is, as Reginald Dwayne Betts's 'A Conversation' says, 'tucked into the back pages of the paper,' the poems remind us of the atrocities our own sisters and brothers are committing in our name. Linda Pastan asks what we are capable of. The poems answer, in sorrow: almost anything."

And yet, the poets are also hopeful. Browning writes, "Even in [the poets'] despair and their outrage, they call us, as Melissa Tuckey does in her poem, 'Forsythia Winter,' to 'go ahead, open your hand.'"

About Beltway Poetry Quarterly: Since January 2000, Beltway Poetry Quarterly has published poetry by authors who live or work in the capital of the United States. Beltway strives to showcase the richness and diversity of Washington area authors in every issue, with poets from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, ages, and sexual orientations represented. It has included Pulitzer Prize winners and those who have never previously published. The journal publishes academic, spoken word, and experimental authors--and also those poets whose work defies categorization.

Read Beltway Poetry Quarterly at http://washingtonart.com/beltway.html.

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