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Poetry Lives Even After The Trashing of The People's Library

By       Message Danny Schechter     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 11/21/11

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Here's part of it: "Poems Are The Ultimate Weapon Of The 99%"

"You see it here, dangling, in this book of Occupy poems, stuffed between improvised covers in a binder, virtually chained to a bookcase in the most improbable People's Library ever created.

It is a growing collection, tethered this way, because so many read it, contribute to it and want it.

It is part of the amazing collection of the printed word, off the shelves of so many supporters and now sandwiched into a corner of a park housing an occupation to challenge the money state, based just two blocks away on the Street named after a Wall built centuries ago by slaves to hold back the Native Americans who were the first people displaced from this Island to make way for today's overstuffed and over-bonused courtiers of commerce.

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Wall Street has long occupied America, but now, with passion and a high sense of purpose, Americans and friends from all over, occupy THEM, and among the non-violent weapons in an ever-expanding arsenal of anger, are words on the page, poems of every kind, written to tweak and challenge the power of their many purses.

All movements need their poets to set the tone, to raise the questions and express the sensibility.

And so it is true, I must confess, of OWS, where poetry lives in the hearts of this encampment of the engage, on this half-acre of enraged souls who have assembled to take a stand, to fight the power, and to build a community of the dispossessed and discontented in search of real democracy.

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There may be rage in this Park but also love and commitment without end.

We are here also in the memory of poets who have come before, like Brooklyn's Walt Whitman whose poems and action echoed those who fought for the union to conquer slavery.

Whitman once said: "To have great poetry there must be great audiences, too." 

And Occupy Wall Street is a great audience with poetry readings every week along with the mic checks and the militancy.

Also, let's not forget the beats like Allen Ginsberg who lived in Lower East Side New York, and whose life and work was a testament to the duty of the poet to provoke and inform, to fuse poesy and politics.

Allen is here in spirit as are so many other New Yorkers of the word who powered movements in years gone by and feel so uplifted by this one."

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  Apparently, poets can be considered dangerous.The former Poet Laureate of The United States, Robet Hass, a professor of poetry at Berkeley, was beaten by police during an Occupy protest.

He later wrote: "It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me -- it must be a generational reaction was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines."

Back in New York, the People's Library emerged in a city that is cutting back on the hours its libraries are open, a town which has also seen the recent closures of major bookstores---including a Borders right up the block--because of failures in their Wall Street-driven speculative financing and expansion plans, Their own debt schemes \brought them down.

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.

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