Friday, January 9, 2009

Current events

We're all wrestling with and anguished by the news from Gaza - and elsewhere besides, including our own backyards - and I don't think that blogging my own opinions here would add much to what others are saying. This does not mean that I do not care about these grave matters (or that I am uninterested in what Joshua oddly calls "politicking"). Far from it: my personal comments on a little-read poetry blog would "make nothing happen" and I can't believe that my own spouting off or getting into angry debates on somebody's blog could possibly help a single soul on our planet. And so I'm not going to spout off as a blogger, though my conscience will guide my actions as a citizen and, if personhood still exists, a human being.

That said, it seems to me that Harriet is a good place for poets and poetry readers to weigh in on current events, especially Linh Dinh's current thread; Ron Silliman had an interesting blogpost in response to a call from Philip Metres and others; and there are countless other forums not limited to Poetryland. The world is sadly full of oppositions and "binaries," and I wonder to what extent those are writ small in the snipery and bickering among American poets these days. I hope it's not a parallel destructive impulse, though it's scarcely a time in which one may feel optimistic. Nevertheless, we can strive in all we do to be decent human beings first - and "poets" a distant second.

UPDATE
: Philip remarks that the above indicates some "discomfort" making a statement about Gaza. Here is my response, which I posted on his blog:

I have no discomfort at all with making a statement, and have done so in real life, where it counts. I have discomfort with hatefulness and name-calling from any quarter of a dispute (whether about war or poetry) - something the blogosphere seems to provoke, as can be seen from some of the comments at Ron's blog and on Harriet. That aside, as a human being and citizen I, like you, believe it essential to protest injustice on any side of a conflict, as well as to be fair-minded, aware of complexity, and dubious of rhetoric. I am glad that your blog provides the service of connecting poetry and the politics of war, which is why I linked to it. Thank you for doing so, Philip.

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