Sunday Rally Dispatch is a collection of news updates of interest to our poet-blogger community members. Your contributions from your area of the world, your activities, or your interests are welcome. Please forward them to Jamie Dedes of Musing by Moonlight at email@example.com. Contributions are subject to editorial discretion and space constraints. Feedback welcome.
ON THIS DAY: In 1985, Robert Stuart Fitzgerald died. He was a poet, critic and translator whose renderings of the Greek classics "became standard works for a generation of scholars and students,” He was best known as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin. In addition, he also composed several books of his own poetry. MORE
A quotable Fitzgerald quote: “Poetry is at least an elegance and at most a revelation.”
POETS & WRITERS: Now offers weekly writing prompts every Monday on The Time is Now HERE.
NYC MIDNIGHT WRITING COMPETITION:
● The Short Story Challenge 2011 is an international writing competition and is open to writers around the world.
● There are 2 rounds of competition.
● 1st Round (February 4-12, 2010) : Writers are placed randomly in heats. Each heat is assigned a genre and a subject. Some examples of past genre and subject combinations are: Comedy / Hunting, Fantasy / Steps, Horror / A family reunion, and Sci-Fi / A blind date. For other examples of genre / subject combinations, check out past competition pages here [ 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 ]
● Writers have 8 days to write an original short story (2,500 words max).
● Winners are chosen from the 1st Round to advance to the 2nd round and compete for thousands in cash and prizes.
● 2nd Round (April 1-2, 2010) : All of the writers receive the same genre and subject at midnight (EST time) and have just 24 hours to write an original short story.
● A panel of judges review the final round stories and winners are chosen! Details HERE.
THANKS TO BLAGA (Scent of My Heart) FOR THIS ONE: A Writer’s Digest feature – Ten Creative Ways to Beat Writer’s Block Fast.
POETRY FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: At one point or another, almost all our poet-bloggers write about some social issues they find disturbing. Others have a strong consistent activist focus. I surveyed a number in our community to find out what their thoughts are on poems of social conscience. My questions to them were:
- Assuming poetry has the power to effect change, why and how? and
- What are the issues that most inspire and motive your poems of social conscience and for peace and justice?
Here are the responses:
Yelena Mooney (moonlitpoetic) –
Jamie, I believe that poetry surely has a great power to effect change, be it a social or personal change. There is something in the well-written poetry, may be it's connected with construction, rhyme, clarity of ideas, that has a truly mesmerising effect on a reader, and I believe that if we compose more poems on peace and love in our life, it will certainly make our planet brighter. :) And I am glad that in our times the blogosphere lets talented poets share their works directly with the world...
I'd say I don't have poems of social conscience, I mostly write about nature, seasons, emotions..:) But I'd also say that in all poems I try to create the atmosphere, so that the reader could feel a certain ambiance of peace and light. I believe that nature is primal, and if we treat it like we should,humanity will regain harmony and peace of mind. And, as a result, asocial change for the better will occur.
Pamela Sayers (Poetry With Me):
I believe that when people read the written word it can evoke many emotions. For example, the oil spill brought out a lot of people for the cause of change. The tragedies that are experienced in our lives need a voice. That, I believe, is where poets come into play. I live in a country where the indigenous are treated so poorly and virtually have no rights. It has been happening throughout history all over the world, but I never have lived so close to it. The world is a crazy place with horrific things happening every moment. Poetry can open our eyes and make us think of the consequences of negative actions. It can also remind us not to make the same mistakes again.
I have written about the oil spill, the indigenous, the holocaust and natural disasters such as flooding.I think we should take better care of our planet and the people who live on it. I am not always compelled to write about such things. I write how I feel about what is going on inside me. I think history should remind us that many disasters can be repeated. John Lennon had it right "Give peace a chance". Only we have the power to change what is happening right now.
Charles Martin (Read Between the Minds) –
Poetry has the power to makes us aware of what is hidden in the shadows...Those places that we seldom see or want to see...the poet's voice scrapes away the facade of an issue and lays bare for all to see what has been denied. By providing a voice to these mute realities, poets have throughout history altered the course of events by enlightening readers and encouraging them to take action to stop wars, halt injustice, and to reach out to their fellow man. Like those poets who have proceeded me, I am motivated by the same desire to bring about the social changes necessary to enhance the quality of life for those around me and around the world and to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.
Poetry is an art, it is creative writing, but I do believe that it can be applied to speak to motivate changes...we can write peace loving poems and post on websites such as blogs to share, via community communications, messages are sent and it is FREE, no need to travel to homes to speak to people in person..special tool, I mean poetry is a special tool.
In life, I feel that there are many injustice gone unnoticed due to the fact that the victims are weak or lower social class people, but human all carry similar feelings, war hurts, war destroys humanity, as an ordinary citizen, as a writer or a poet, I feel the need to write a few pieces on war and that's what I did...
Victoria (liv2write2day) –
Yes, poetry and all art has the power to effect social change. I would have to say that some of my own views have been affected by the poetry that I have read since visiting poetry blogs and have helped me to better define my varying views on many issues. I can no longer describe myself using one word labels. Reading poetry opens eyes and hearts, especially poetry written by those with a world-view different from my own. Consider our blogs an opportunity we have to share ideas through poetry with others from all over this globe.
A few of the issues that influence my poetry:
-Protection of the vulnerable--children, the elderly and the poor.
-Supporting others to become self-sufficient (provide opportunities for others to succeed)
-Freedom of spiritual belief and expression
-Care of the environment
Rev. Bill Cook (Poetry Matters):
I agree that poetry is a powerful medium that may effect change. Yet I think that it works indirectly, and its power to effect social change is very limited. It is limited by who reads poetry, why, and by what kind of poetry people tend to read.
More people are reading poetry, but it is still a relatively small group. The poetry sections in the bookstores that I frequent are regrettably getting smaller and smaller. Why? Clearly, because books of poetry are not big sellers. So they are given less shelf space.
Other than by those who are interested in and love literature, what is read and what sells is often sentimental, individualized, explores the inner emotional world of a narrator and the reader, speaking to relationships, or family, or a response to beauty or nature etc. Sometimes it has a kind of self-help quality about it. Very little engages public issues, justice, poverty, etc. When it does, it tends to focus on patriotism, or religion, in a way that celebrates and reinforces what is, rather than challenges it.
I think poetry can be a motivator for those who read it, and can occasionally galvanize a moment publicly. But I think the force for change is generated elsewhere. There are, clearly, some groups, publications etc. that do focus on change and are counter-cultural, but I think they are in the minority. I find that socially aware poetry, poetry that calls for change, justice, or peace, is mostly read by people who are already committed in those directions.
I do think that poetry is a powerful medium, but I am not sure that in this cultural moment it is able to effect real change. Having said that, I also think it is very important for those who write poetry to make a real effort to address public issues with their poetry; if we do not, than our poetry can degenerate into a narcissistic and sentimental exercise.
I have been in full time Christian ministry for eighteen years, and have been preaching for about twenty. Most of my writing and work around peace and justice issues has been from the pulpit, other public speaking engagements, and in writing for church newsletters etc. Prior to that I was a volunteer workshop leader for the Hunger Project, and led seminars on world hunger. I was the founding president of Family Promise, the Interfaith Hospitality Network in Gloucester County, NJ, a non-profit corporation affiliated with Family Promise, committed to helping homeless families transition back into housing. About one third of my present congregation is composed of immigrants from West Africa. The church houses SASCA, which is a non-profit corporation serving the Hispanic community, working with issues of poverty and immigration.
These tend to be the issues that grab my heart: poverty, hunger, immigration, refugees, and peace. The thesis that formed the center of my Doctoral project was that the work for justice in the church is not optional: it is an essential part of Christian identity. Sometimes that makes its way into my poetry. But not often enough.
Thanks to Yel, Pamela, Charles, Victoria, and Bill for their well-considered responses.
Please be sure to visit their blogs.
CORRECTION TO LAST DISPATCH: I referred to Myra Schneider's book Writing for Self-Discovery when I meant Writing Your Self.
A NOTE FROM JAMIE: Please excuse me for taking advantage of this venue to let you know I will not me posting, visiting blogs, or approving comments on my blog for a couple of days. We are in vigil for a friend who is seriously ill. When I return I will do Rally and Potluck visits for this week and last and approve and reply to comments. Thanks for your understanding.
Thanks to Ji for the Birthday list:
January 12, lolamouse
January 18th Mia
Jan. 19th Sina
January 19 AlmondJoycie
JINGLE POETRY POTLUCK, WEEK 18
STARTS TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. CENTRAL,
EVERYONE IS INVITED...
INLINKZ WILL STAY OPEN FOR 72 HOURS.
Please email news announcements to Jamie Dedes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please forward photograph or illustrations and include all necessary links.