Category Archives: Poetry

JOIN US: Poets For Change Celebratory Reading At St. Marks Church!

Clear your calendar and join us Friday, 10pm, September 28, 2012 at St. Marks Church for the opening night of a weekend full of events on behalf of 100,000 Poets for Change! The Poetry Project is hosting an open reading commemorating the Occupy Wall Street and the 100,000 Poets for Change communities. For those unfamiliar with 100tpc, September 29, 2012 marks the second annual global event of 100tpc, a grassroots organization that brings poets, artists and musicians (new this year) together to call for environmental, social, and political change, within the framework of peace and sustainability. The local focus is key to this global event as communities around the world raise their voices through concerts, readings, workshops, flash mobs and demonstrations that speak to the heart of their specific area of concerns, such as homelessness, ecocide, racism and censorship. This past year the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a major force diligently working for a better, more sustainable, more imaginative world, so it’s only natural that 100tpc and the poets of Occupy Wall Street join forces for the opening night of a weekend of 100tpc inspired readings (link to all the 100tpc readings happening in NYC).

In honor of the inventive spirit and the continual striving for inclusivity conducted by Occupiers this past year, the open-to-all who wish to participate reading at St. Marks Church will be held in an experimental way. The intent of this experiment is to break from the confines of routinely structured open mic nights. Instead of focusing the night on individuals confined to a time limit, the night aims to bring everyone in attendance together to create one, fantastic, long, meandering poem which encompasses everyone in attendance and focuses on the collective experience.

Upon arrival at St. Marks, poets will choose a word they feel an attachment to or a word that represents them or that they’re particularly fond of or think funny, etc – just pick a word! One word per person and one person per word (first come/ first pick). When choosing a word, please be mindful that you’re in a room full of people that also want to have a chance to read. Volunteers will ensure no one picks the same word and will prod anyone (the less imaginative poets seeking the limelight) that wants to pick a highly used word, to come up with another choice. (example words not to pick: and, or, is, the, it, your, my, a, no, yes, etc).

Choose a word that you’re pretty sure will be called. Chances are good no one will read a poem with the word glossolalia (meaning: fluent nonsense) in it, unfortunately. The word a poet chooses will be their key to read for the evening. Every time a poets’ word is read by another poet, the poet whose word was read will stand up, display their word, (which will signal the poet that was reading to stop and sit down) and then begin reading. The reading poet will continue until one of their words signals for another to begin. Please bring a range of poems and stretch that vocabulary, as every time your word is said you can/should read from a different poem or a different section of a poem already read from… the goal of the night is to get everyone reading fragments and pieces of work, with everyone’s work bleeding and melding into each others…. that said, a poet may only get one word in before the next reader begins or a poet may read 2 – 3 – 4 – 5(doubtful) poems before the next poet is signaled to begin. The amount of times and the length of time will entirely depend on the size of the crowd and words people read and chose. Hopefully this will create space for us to ruminate (in a fun and playful manner) on our interconnectedness, while we simultaneously create a completely original-communal body of work.

If someones word is never said, the poet can read a poem at the end of the night for our livestream cameras (up to three minutes// also let us know if you wish to not be filmed as we’ll have a special section of the room for you). Livestream cameras will be filming the night so people around the world can tune in. Eventually the night will be transcribed (unless a poet wishes their work be withdrawn), and the results will be posted here. However, if it’s getting late into the night and your word hasn’t been read, I’d encourage letting your neighbors know and would encourage people to create new poems as the night goes on with the words of those around you. Everyone should invest their energies into getting everyone multiple chances to add to the collective poem.

Also, as part of the night, I’m working on creating an installation of sorts, so the space has a nice feel and some decor to go along with the communal spirit we’ll hopefully all be embracing. I sent out an email to the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology list serv (if you didn’t get it and want to be on the list serv please let me know – stephenjboyer@gmail{dot}com), asking poets to email me one photo of themselves or a photo that they feel represents themselves– I might use them as part of the nights installation (technology provided). So if you want a photo of yourself or one that represents you to be included in the installation (as long as everything comes together), then please email me a photo as soon as possible… I’m still accepting and hoping to receive more photos. Also on display the night of the 28th, will be a copy of the final version of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, as well as the original versions that were in the park. A table will be set up as a communal poetry library/bookstore. Poets should bring copies of their work to give away, sell or trade (zines, chapbooks, whatever)!!! It’s up to the poet as to whether or not they want their contribution sold, shared, or for display purposes… whatever items a poet brings the night of, if it’s not gone by the end of the night please be prepared to take it home with you.

And finally! Volunteers are needed to make this night happen! All volunteers will be loved forever. And don’t worry– volunteers will fully be able to participate in the reading, so volunteers don’t have to worry about missing out on any part of the night. In fact, volunteers will have the honor of knowing they’re essential to making the night run smoothly. If you’re interested in helping with setting up the space the night of the 28th, or helping with livestream, or helping people pick/assign words upon entry, or looking after the book table (sales/distribution/ensuring books that aren’t to leave remain at the table) or if you’re available to help paint a few things a few days before the 28th or if you want to send me some ideas or moral support –please email me at stephenjboyer@gmail{dot}com.

St. Marks Church is located at 131 East 10th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenue in the East Village (google map). The reading starts at 10pm on September 28th and (crowd permitted) will run till around midnight… Really hope to see you there! And remember to wear something fun ‘cuz the night is going to be viewed by people from all over the world! There is an $8 suggested donation (helps support the Poetry Project), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds! Invite your friends! All are welcome.

And in case my explanation of the night is really confusing, here’s a more visual example of the way the night will proceed:

The following text excerpts are from the OWS Poetry Anthology -except for the second Adrienne Rich poem, which is from an article in The Nation. This was put together for example purposes only and isn’t intended to be an actual representation of the poets whose work was used.

Poet A (Adrienne Rich / chosen word is mother):

Ankles shackled
metalled and islanded
holding aloft a mirror, feral
lipstick, eye-liner

Poet B (Stephen Boyer / chosen word is eye-liner):

gazing into my crystal ball

Poet C (Jeffrey Grunthaner – chosen word is ball):

ad execs of the busyness where L-U-C-K’
s godly, & death’s even possible
by imbibing kitty emetics. O, the miser-
able remnants left on the aortic sidewalk!

Poet D (Filip Marinovich – chosen word is sidewalk):

You lose everything except your S.U.V.
even your children all 8 of them murdered
8 infinity symbol stood up straight
8 double-headed lariat noose cut loose
I fit my Gemini heads through two yellow loops
flying through deep space to meet Mother

Poet A (Adrienne Rich – chosen word is mother):

Saw you walking barefoot
taking a long look
at the new moon’s

Poet E (Ama Birch – chosen word is moon):

Dear President,
Leader of the free world,
Remember who pays your rent
Is wisdom’s pearl.

White House
Turned Brown
Cherry blossom mouse
Cheering sound.

Chopper, Chopper.
Swirling winds.
Marker, Marker.
Light ray blends.

Eggs are laid on the lawns.
You must protect your pawns.

Sincerely,
Ama Birch

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Occupy Wall Street x R.A.W. Poets

Remember these guys?! I do! They really made the poetry readings in Zuccotti Park happen. Enjoy.

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THANK YOU: The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Has Been Printed!!!

photo by Ed Giardina

The anthology is being printed! I meant to publicly update on the progress of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology sooner, but I’ve been so busy picking up stacks of books and carting them around town to send out into the world, that I haven’t had the chance. Anyway, I’d just like everyone to know the books have begun to be printed! So far I’ve sent out about a dozen copies. I didn’t account for the cost of shipping such a large book, as I hadn’t been to the post office in awhile and was apparently out of touch with their rates. That said, if you’re in the New York City area and you’ve ordered a book we should try and arrange a meeting point so I can give you your book. The printer I’ve been working with is printing about 10 books a week so they’re slowly trickling out… the book is huge! 900 pages! I’ve updated the file on the OWS Poetry Anthology page so everyone can see it! There’s now three files: the cover, the anthology and the third file is the final segment of the book, scans of the contents of the “suggestion box” park participants put together and gave me after the raid on November 15th. I wrote a forward regarding the suggestion box which was published in the anthology and copy/pasted below.

This past weekend a copy of the anthology was on display at Surreal Estate as part of the Bushwick Open Studios event. This week, a copy will be on display, permanently, at Poets House. You can also see the anthology in its original binder form on display there as well. A copy has already been given to the New York Public Library and I believe a copy will be at the NYU Library soon… I also displayed a copy of the anthology at the Act Up + Occupy fundraising event at the end of April… Here’s a photo…

Once again, I’d just like to thank everyone that helped make this anthology a success! I can’t believe it’s making its way around the world, both on the web and in the physical! Copies are going all across America and Canada and copies have gone to Cork, Ireland; Paris, France; Latvia; and the United Kingdom! It’s truly a remarkable addition to the American Canon, at least that’s how I see it and it couldn’t have happened without hundreds of people coming together. Yes! Thanks again and please get in touch with me if you’re in the NYC area and you donated to receive an anthology as I’d like to arrange a time to give it to you… MEOW MEOW!!!!

The Suggestion Box:

When tents went up in Zuccotti Park the community was loosely divided into two clusters: At the western end of the park most of the drummers, anarchists, crust punks and long term Occupiers lived; the eastern end of the park was associated with the General Assembly, activist tourists, slacktivists, and people of privilege. However, the eastern end was also where Park mainstays like the Peoples Library, the media table, and the press table held court, and many of the people associated with those groups lived with their stations. So while it’s unfair to mandate clear boundaries, as many Occupiers blur the division made popular by Samantha Bee in her sketch for the “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” there is some truth in such observations. Such a delination places the infamous Kitchen at the center of the Park, the Park’s dividing line.

In keeping with this simplified observation, Occupiers living in the western end of the Park criticized the eastern end, specifically the General Assembly, for allowing people who were unfamiliar with the inner workings of life in the Park the ability to set rules and guidelines that would determine daily structure. Many of the people that lived in the Park full time were too busy with daily work to make it to the G. A.’s, so they often felt excluded from the decision making process and alienated from the people less invested in living in the Park. These non–Occupiers were engaged in a dialogue that felt rewarding to them but lacked an understanding of the community for which they were making decisions.

Eventually, the eastern end of the Park began to disrupt the G.A. which evolved into these Occupiers staging their own anti-G.A. in rebellion of the “sanctioned” G.A. held in the western end of the Park. The anti-G.A. was held in honor of all those living in the Park as a way of challenging the social norms that the Park’s community had established. The eastern end of the Park was made up of many small communities of long term as well as newly founded friendships; it was a place that was often criticized as violent, drug fueled, one harboring misguided extremists (flag burning, confronting police officers, destroying public property, etc). One of the most notorious bands of people in the east end of the Park established a community called, “Nick @ Night.” In keeping with the parks communal atmosphere, this community was started by and maintained a tobacco-rolling station, offering passerbys cigarettes. Rumors always seemed to fly around the Park regarding the shenanigans that took place in the area they occupied…. Despite the flack they received from the community at large, in my opinion they often defied stereotypes. The greatest example of their ability to transcend beyond the pranks and childish behavior they were known for, came shortly after the Raid, when I was handed a box they kept called the Suggestion Box. Like the OWS Poetry Anthology, the Suggestion Box was available to everyone. It was explained to me that they were curating the box as a way to compile a large body of suggestions; and once a large body was acquired, they were going to make these suggestions public so people could then engage with the material. After the Park was raided, many of the east enders left New York City, became disillusioned with the movement, or were pushed to other parts of the city with the rest of the Occupation. The box was handed to me for safe keeping/ archival purposes, so its contents could be added to the anthology and the originals maintained.

At first I typed the messages people wrote, but the typed version failed to capture the essence, the love, and the thoughtfulness that went into each suggestion. So Jackie Sheeler and I scanned them in order not to disrupt the essential rawness of the material: the scans maintain the small details that are lost when handwriting is converted to type. For the past few months I’ve been reading Michael Taussig’s book, I SWEAR I SAW IT; he gave a signed copy to the People’s Library upon the book’s release. Taussig investigates the value of the notebook. He sees handwritten recordings as kindling the mystique; he notes how they’re able to blend inner and outter worlds, to show peculiarities of knowledge and the complexities of life. After all, isn’t the Occupy Wall Street Movement a journey to discover new ways of thinking, seeing, and interacting with the world?

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May Day Verse

From the foregathered there comes a cry

an echo of all that has been said before

in every language

in every way

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

it seems a message

will play here forever

it reaches even those who cannot hear

those who refuse to hear

it sounds like music

it feels like spring

like an echo of all that has been said before

from the foregathered there comes a cry

here it is then

OCCUPY

visit

www.theowsreview.org

for new words from Peter Lamborn Wilson

and submit your literary arts to:

occupyreview@gmail.com

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Running Out Of Time: Help Print The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology: And it’s been updated!!!

In synchronicity with Poetry Month, which runs throughout April, a small and very committed group of people have been hard at work preparing the anthology for print. In addition to editing, reformatting, and composing a table of contents for the considerable volume of verse contained therein, we have also been working to raise the necessary funding to make this printing possible. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here. The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology consists of 721 poems by 448 poets, as well as 4 introductory texts. The poems are in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu, German, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch. The online PDF file has officially been updated to include recent additional poems, a Table of Contents and a new section at the end “Suggestion Box.” The backgrounds, career paths, political affiliations, gender identities, opinions, and stylistic choices of the authors are as varied as the occupy movement itself. In bypassing the curatorial and marketing concerns which are de rigeur of a publishing company, we have attempted to create a fully inclusive document; a record of our collective voice which stands in solidarity with not only its authors but as a testament to the literal space held by the general public surrounding the time of its creation.

On April 14th, we gave two copies of a preliminary printing to the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library on the occasion of a reading celebrating the anthology and discussing the importance of the upcoming Mayday strike. The library is currently hosting an installation of poems from the anthology, on display until the end of April. It is an honor and a great achievement to have the NYPL support and recognize the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology; by creating space on its shelves for this book, the NYPL is ensuring that future readers will be able to access this crucial moment in history from the perspectives of those who lived it.

To print this text in its entirety is a special opportunity. Not only does the anthology consist of poems from all over the world, it also has drawings, paintings, and other ephemera from Zuccotti Park. It is simultaneously a beacon for free speech and a time capsule for future generations, so they may examine the hearts and minds that comprised and supported the Occupy Movement in its early stages. All submissions were accepted, so there are also entries that are critical of the Occupy Movement as well as poems in dialogue with subject matter contingent to the direct act of protest/occupation. After speaking with several publishers whose demands to print a consolidated version of the book [highlighting mostly its more noted contributors] were clearly not in keeping with the inclusive tone of the Occupy movement, the decision to self-publish became imperative. The document, in its entirety, is already print-ready. The ultimate goal of this edition is to ensure that the anthology remains in circulation by distributing copies to major libraries and literary institutions on an international level, as well as providing copies to each contributor and enabling us to give the book, free of charge, to as many people as possible.

By supporting the campaign to fund the printing of the anthology, you are ensuring copies get to occupations, library systems and special collections around the world. By the end of May, it is entirely possible for every occupation to have a few copies of the anthology to show passersby that don’t necessarily understand the gravity and global scope of the movement, or how such a movement could be made up of no demands. Also–if enough money is raised, individuals, as well as libraries and special collections, will be able to own a copy. Those that donate $50 or more will be able to not only support the printing of copies that will go to the public domain, but will also receive their own copy. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here.

And a photo Eliot Katz sent me, to share with everyone::

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This Weekend: Reading @Jefferson Market Library and ACT UP + OCCUPY!

For the month of April, the Jefferson Market Library is hosting an exhibition of poems from the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology in the spiral staircase leading library goers from the ground floor to the main room. April is POETRY MONTH! And the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology is open to all poems: famous poets sit next to obscure poets, experimental poems are next to traditional ones, there are many languages, and poems both for and against the the Occupy Movement. The anthology consists of 721 poems, 4 poetic introductions, 448 poets (140 women, 275 men, 34 androgynous) and poems in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu, German, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch.

Tomorrow, April 14th, the Jefferson Market Library has opened its doors to OWS Poetry Anthology to host a reading so all the poets and the community at large can come out and engage with each other. This is a great opportunity for the Occupy Movement to educate and converse with the West Village Community. And they have two weeks to engage with the poems on the walls and think about what is being said…. So come prepared! I’ve even invited all the poets in the Anthology to read a poem as well, so expect to be challenged and expect to be loved!

Poets will get 3-5minutes to read their work, depending on the size of the crowd…. The event will be held in a similar fashion to the Poetry Assemblies: readers will add their name to a “hat” and be called at random. The event will kick off with a short “lecture” on the significance of MAY DAY and the GENERAL STRIKE, which is currently a major focus of the Occupy Movement…. if you don’t know much about it, or have questions or wanna hear about it from an expert, be sure to be there at 2pm. If you have serious ethical, moral, or safety concerns about the poems on the walls, be sure to tell a librarian! They’ll take your concerns, print and laminate them, and post them on the wall so everyone can consider what you got to say…. Also email them to me, so I can add it to the anthology ;) stephenjboyerATgmailDOTcom

Also, to mark the occasion, we will be presenting the NYPL with two copies of the anthology. One will go to central archives and the other will stay in the Jefferson Market branch

And if you haven’t heard, the anthology is currently running a campaign to raise money so it can be printed and sent to occupations, special collections, and major library systems around the world. The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology is an anthology made by and for the people…. Please spread the word: if we are going to be able to do this, we will need for this to go viral and be supported by everyone. The link for the campaign is here, at indiegogo.

SUNDAY:::

To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the AIDS activist group ACT UP will return to its roots and stage a massive demonstration and march on Wall Street — on Wednesday, April 25 — starting at 11 am at City Hall and ending on Wall Street.

Hundreds of protestors are expected to converge for a daylong siege in Lower Manhattan.

ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) will be joined by Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the organization making history this year and last with its public encampments and series of protests against the global financial community. The groups are joining forces to pump up the
volume on a growing nationwide outcry for a “Financial Speculation Tax” (Fi.S.T.) on Wall Street.

The groups are calling on local, state, and federal legislators to “give Wall Street the FiST,” which is needed to fill AIDS funding gaps and — once and for all — provide universal healthcare in the US. It’s time for effective healthcare to be made available to everyone — to the 99%, not just the 1%.

The Fi.S.T. does not target individual investors, and would not affect regular bank transactions. Instead, it would place a small tax — a mere fraction of one percent — on speculative trading by Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other large financial institutions.

HIV treatment saves lives — by preventing new infections and keeping those already infected from reaching end-stage AIDS. However, of all people worldwide in need of access to HIV treatment, only 44% have it. More than 8 million people do not. In the United States today, 3,840 people who qualify for federal assistance to pay for HIV treatment are on waiting lists — or in other words, are at risk of dying from AIDS.

“The AIDS crisis is not over,” says veteran ACT UP New York member Ann Northrop. “But, we know it could be,” she adds.

AIDS treatment — when combined with simple prevention interventions — is the key to breaking the back of the epidemic worldwide. In addition to saving lives, early HIV/AIDS treatment reduces the risk of transmission of HIV by 96%. And so, with sufficient funding for
treatment and prevention, we can turn the tide on AIDS. Globally, HIV/AIDS has claimed over 30 million lives.

Both ACT UP and OWS suggest the revenue from a Financial Speculation Tax would be significant — potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The revenue from this tax should be used to fund the end of the AIDS pandemic, i.e. to fill in US budget gaps in the fight against
HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. It should be used to provide treatment, services and prevention to thousands of Americans and millions around the world. The groups also say the tax could help pay for universal healthcare in the US.

“We are organizing this historic united front to bring our message to governments and to Wall Street financiers who are sitting on the key to ending the AIDS epidemic,” according to Eric Sawyer, a founding member of ACT UP New York. “There is no excuse. We have the know how to end AIDS. It is lack of funding and political will that keeps us from reaching universal access to HIV treatment worldwide.”

Additional organizations are expected to join the demonstration in New York City, including Housing Works, Health GAP, National Nurses United, OWS Healthcare for the 99% Working Group, Visual AIDS, MIX NYC, Le Petit Versailles, Queerocracy, Queering OWS and others. The action will be in New York on April 25th — but the need is global. And, the time is now.

AIDS is now. END AIDS NOW!

ACT UP & Occupy!
Tax Wall Street!
End AIDS!

The AIDS crisis is not over — but it could be! Tax Wall St. to End #AIDS #ACTUP #OWS #OccupyAIDS #OccupyWallSt #TaxWallSt #EndAIDS #April25 #ActUp25 #A25

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POETRY MONTH~ OWS Poetry Anthology @ Jefferson Market Library

For the month of April, the Jefferson Market Library is holding an exhibition of poems from the OWS Poetry Anthology on the wall of the spiral staircase leading up the beautiful tower. It’s a great chance for library goers to absorb the many, varied poems in the anthology and simultaneously enjoy voices from those directly involved with the movement and from supporters from around the world.

On April 14th, we’ll be hosting a reading at the library from 2-5pm. Everyone is encouraged to bring a poem to share! Poets will get 3-5minutes depending on the amount of people that show up, and the event will start out with quick lecture on the significance of the GENERAL STRIKE the occupy movement has called for on May 1st. We’ll also be giving the NY Public Library copies of the OWS Poetry Anthology on the 14th to add to their collection! One copy will go to the archives at 42nd street and another copy will remain at the Jefferson Market location. If you want to check out the exhbition but aren’t sure when to go, I really suggest saving date, Saturday afternoon on April 14th!! If you want to add a poem to the copy of the anthology that will be given to the NY Public Library, please send poems by the evening of April 8th, 2012 to “stephenjboyer(AT)gmail.com.

Here’s a couple photo’s taken by one of the librarians at the Jefferson Market Branch, Marie Hensen… it seems all the librarians are really excited about the exhibition!

And here’s a photo of Frank Collerius (head librarian at the branch) and I… when you stop by, be sure to say hi!

And here’s a few more photo’s, taken by the poet Lee Ann Brown…

My partner in crime, Miranda Lee Reality Torn, her poem “Corporations!” is hanging up now…

Another partner in crime, the poet Patrick Hammer, thanks again for all your help!

AND AGAIN~~THANK YOU AGAIN, JEFFERSON MARKET LIBRARY, AND WE’LL SEE YOU ON APRIL 14TH AND CHECK OUT THE CAMPAIGN TO PRINT THE ANTHOLOGY ON INDIEGOGO!!!!

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