Category Archives: Poetry

Week 7 of the OWS Poetry Anthology Added… Finally!

THE POETRY MARATHON CONTINUES:

The OWS Poetry Anthology has again been updated… It’s massive! It’s a marathon of poetry! 100 pages added!

THE WORLD HAS A POETIC SPIRIT! IT’S BEING RADICALLY UNLEASHED! THERE IS A COMMUNITY OF THE SPIRIT! AND IT WANTS YOU TO JOIN IT! AND FEEL THE DELIGHT OF WALKING IN THE NOISY STREET! AND BEING THE NOISE! DRINK ALL YOUR PASSION AND BE A DISGRACE! FOR THE WORLD HAS A POETIC SPIRIT! NOW JOIN IT!

THIS WEEK’S WRITING PROMPT: Watch OWS video’s on youtube that show police brutality. Spend a half hour in silent reflection. As you reflect, calmly send radiant energy to people the world over that have been victims of police brutality. Then write a poem to a police officer! Dedicate poems to Robert Hass or anyone you know that has been a victim of police brutality.

BERKELEY: Tension mount at Occupy Berkeley UC encampment.

Here is a poem in this spirit from WEEK 7:

when you beat me
By, Richard Vargas
11/18/11

does your arm tire
as you swing your
baton into the thud
of my flesh and bone
and you hear me
scream out in pain
when you crack
my ribs and jab
my soft belly
do you feel like a
job well done when
you pin me on the
ground and harness
my wrists like a
rodeo cowboy
hogties cattle

no matter that
we are both looked
down upon by those
on their balconies
of glass and steel
who laugh and joke
as they spread caviar
on fancy crackers
that will never pass
our lips

while you choke me
knock me down
look at how they
raise their flutes
of exquisite champagne
sparkling in the sun

blinding you with
their cold brilliance
and empty nods
of approval

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Filed under Free Speech, Poetry, Stephen

#OccupyBloomberg and the “frozen zone”

Update 3:30: Frances has just sent a photo of the Upper East Side branch of the People’s Library and says:

“It’s a festive fall day up here. The drum circle is active. We’re hungry and asked the upper east side to donate grilled cheese sandwiches so we’ll see how that turns out. The people seem very unhappy that the protestors have moved into their neighborhood for the day. We were yelled at by an elderly couple a block away from the park and I responded, “The occupiers have metrocards ma’am, and we’re not afraid to use them.”

In response to the drum circle, the NYPD has closed E 79th St. near the Mayor’s home and they are now describing it a “frozen zone.” A little research online shows that a “frozen zone” is usually an area where the NYPD use their authority to suspend the law in order to maintain the law. The declaration of a “frozen zone” amounts to declaring martial law or creating a state of exception and has previously been used by the NYPD during terrorist threats. Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones has reported on the “frozen zone” being used to deny reporters access to Liberty Plaza. So what is “frozen” in these zones?

Stephen with mobile People's Library and OWS Poetry Anthology. (photo: Michael Tracey, @mtracey)

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Filed under #OccupyBloomberg, Frances, Michael, Poetry, Stephen

OWS Poetry Anthology Update

The OWS Poetry Anthology PDF file has been updated today! It first went online a couple days ago, the original file didn’t include everything that was in the binder at the People’s Library but it was a sizeable chunk of poems and a great start! Anyway, I’ll be updating it as frequently as I can find time, once or twice a week. Normally I update it every Tuesday or Wednesday. If you’d like to help with that process simply email me and we can figure out a way of including you. Today I also added a new section to the PDF, at the beginning of the document – POETIC INTRODUCTIONS! Basically this section allows for you to write an introduction for the anthology, and it’s open to everyone as anyone is able to become part of this anthology. The idea comes from Danny who sent an introduction for the anthology this past week.

All poems are welcome to be added to the anthology. If you would be so kind as to send poems in the following format (size 12, TIMES font):

TITLE (bold)
by, Author (normal)
for JOE JOHN (italics)
SOMEWHERE, FARAWAY (italics)

BODY OF POEM (your unique vision!)

Here’s an example from a submission from this past week:

THIRST
By, John Siddique 2011
From ‘Full Blood’ (Salt Publishing)
United Kingdom

Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.

Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.

It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.

Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.

Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.

The OWS Poetry Anthology is open to all languages! Every week more and more languages are added to the anthology as more and more poets from around the world are joining in to make this text more nuanced. I’m very sorry, I’m limited to English so please pass this on in other languages if you possess such magickal abilities. No poem will be translated as that creates a heirachy of language. However, if the poet who sends in a poems wishes to include the poem in more than one language, all the versions will be added. Here’s an example:

Figli della disobbedienza
Alessandra Bava © 2011

Come Thoreau
credo che le cose
non cambino, ma che
noi possiamo e dobbiamo

cambiare Con superbo furore,
lottiamo liminalmente,
perifericamente,
deliberatamente.

L’Armata Voce
ci anima,
ci unisce,
ci riunisce.

Presidiamo arsenali
di poesia e non
temiamo di esporci
alla gogna: parole, nuda

carne fremente,
ossa, grondanti versi,
denti affondati in
viscere di senso

e di dissenso.
Mani e i fianchi
immersi nel sangue
della verità

pronti a generare
molteplici fogli– pronti
a generare molteplici figli
– della DISOBBEDIENZA.

Sons of Disobedience
by Alessandra Bava © 2011

Like Thoreau
I believe that things
don’t change, but that
we can and must

change. With superb fury,
we fight liminally,
peripherically,
deliberately.

The Armed Voice
inspires us,
unites us,
re-unites us.

We garrison arsenals
of poetry and we fear
not to be taken to the
stocks: words, naked

craving flesh,
bones, dripping
lines, teeth sunk in
bowels of sense

and dissent.
Hands and hips
drowned in truth’s
blood

ready to give birth
to several leaves — ready
to give birth to several
sons—of DISOBEDIENCE.

All poems for the anthology can be sent to stephenjboyer (@) gmail (dot) com

And for those of you too lazy to go to the OWS Poetry Anthology publication page, well… here’s the file:

OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY

If you aren’t in the NYC area and you’re planning on printing the PDF to place a copy of it in your area, the first sketch page is the cover of the anthology. The wonderful artist Molly Crabapple did the sketch. I write in sharpie marker “OCCUPY WALL ST POETRY ANTHOLOGY” around the figures head and usually include a thought bubble that says, “I Love Poetry” somewhere in the margins… I’d recommend doing something similar and that you laminate it for safe keeping. And then you can three-hole punch the entire document and put rings in it for easy-reading!

Let’s spread these anthologies everywhere!

Oh! And tonight, as with every Friday night, is the Poetry Assembly at Liberty Plaza! Starts around 9:30 pm. Come and share your poems!

ENJOY!

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Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Now Online

We are proud to offer you the complete Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology!

In the past, the poets responsible for editing the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology wanted readers to experience the magic of the occupation while reading the poems the movement has generated.

With the police raid though, now seemed a good time to get a positive story about Occupy Wall Street into the discourse.  Occupy Wall Street isn’t about fighting the police or senselessly tearing systems down, we’re out to create a new beautiful world.  And one of the ways we are doing that is through is through poetry.  So please, share our anthology, read about our movement and our lives, and know this: Occupy Wall Street will build that better world though unity, determination, and beautiful words.

If you’ve submitted a poem and don’t see it, no worries: Our resident poet assembling the anthology hasn’t slept since the raid and needs sleep.  He will get to it soon.  And if you want to share a poem, please send it to Stephen.j.boyer@gmail.com with the subject line Occupy Poetry Anthology.

 

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Filed under Announcements, Literature, Mandy, Poetry, Stephen, Steve S.

Allen Ginsberg collection at the People’s Library

We now have an Allen Ginsberg collection in the People’s Library.
Thanks so much, Simon & Peter for the generous donations!

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Filed under Betsy, Donations, Poetry

All Languages are Needed for the Poetry Anthology


The Occupy Wall St. Poetry Anthology is blossoming!

Yesterday Patti Smith came to the People’s Library. She dropped off about ten copies of Just Kids and signed them and I showed her the poetry anthology and she liked it and we talked about Allen Ginsberg and the occupations in Spain and she told me she has been recovering from bronchitis but wants to get better and do more and I couldn’t stop glowing!! And then Patti left to walk around the park and some woman came up to me and was like, “HEY, CAN I TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU, YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST SMILE!” And I was like, “SURE, PATTI SMITH WAS JUST HERE! SHE’S ONE OF MY GREATEST LOVES!!” And then Patti came back! I was stocking books and noticed Patti had taken off her boots and gave her wool socks to an elderly woman sleeping in the park. It was so incredibly real and so incredibly altruistic/humble and I ran back up to her and we talked some more about her recent trip to Madrid, the marches she’s been going and the incredible spirit sweeping the globe. I told her I gave her poems after her performance/reading celebrating her anniversary of her first reading at St. Marks and she said she still has them. Then we exchanged info so we can try to set up a time for her to read/talk at the peoples library, so hopefully she’ll come down to the library! And hopefully she’ll send poems for the anthology!

Today the Wall St. Journal published an article on the anthology! And the anthology seems to continually get better! And it’s imperative we get someone that is a master of many languages to join the anthology so that the anthology isn’t English-centric. We need someone that can wrangle in poets from many languages so the poetic spirit of the anthology transcends language barriers. I feel the poems shouldn’t be translated as that would create a hierarchy of language. Instead, poets from all languages should contribute their poems and it’s up to the readership to evolve so they can appreciate the vastness of language! So please, please help me spread the word so the many poetic voices of all the languages of the world can contribute to this massive text of dissidence, a testament to the infinite beauty of the human spirit.

And if your language is an oral language then by all means come to the library, grab a copy of the anthology and repeat your poems continuously!!

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Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

Occupy Wall St. Poetry Update

My name is Stephen Boyer! I’m a librarian at the People’s Library, I moved in full-time a couple weeks ago. I’ve been insanely busy getting the Occupy Wall St. Poetry Anthology off the ground and the WiFi here has been down, but now the WiFi is up and the anthology has reached a stable place so hopefully I’ll be able to start updating the blog regularly to fill in the readership as to the going-ons of what I’m doing at The People’s Library.

The OWS Poetry Anthology is currently only available at The People’s Library. Eventually it’ll be mass produced and probably online but for now I feel it’s imperative that it lives solely in the library. This way it maintains a power and an aura that will be lost once it is more widely available. And the feedback has been immense! If you haven’t had the chance to come down and read it, just imagine reading pages and pages and pages of voices of dissent as thousands occupy the space surrounding you. The anthology was born out of the poetry assembly. Every Friday night around 9:30pm poets of all walks of life and ages come in and read/perform their poetry. Folks that have been around the NYC poetry scene for a long time have been saying the poetry assembly is one of the greatest open mic reading series NYC has ever fostered and NYC has a great legacy of poetry. With that validation, I highly suggest you join us. Poetry illuminates the soul of Occupy Wall St. A lot of people are asking, “What are the demands” and the poets voices show just how nuanced the human spirit and impossible a set of demands truly is. This occupation is about transforming consciousness and the poetry community is a major part of that process. So please join us!

The anthology is open to all people and all poems. Obviously there are a lot of political poems landing in the anthology but its imperative we include all aspects of the human experience. Famous poets have included their work (Anne Waldman, Adrienne Rich, Michael McClure, and more), the Allen Ginsberg Society has sent us a poem on behalf of Allen, children have included their work, people of all walks of life have included your work. Again, all work is accepted and you can send your own poems to STEPHENJBOYER@GMAIL dot COM. Please include “Occupy Poetry” in the subject as my inbox has been flooded! But I love it! I want the anthology to get so large that it fills the entirety of Wall St.

Besides living in the library I’ve also helped start the Queer Caucus and I also blog at minorprogression where you can learn a lot more about me.

Here’s video of the Poetry Assembly:

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Filed under Announcements, OccupyLibraries, Poetry, Stephen, Video