Poets For Peace, Zine #2: Poems For Resilience

Both #PoetsForPeace zines are available to order. $15-25 suggested donation. All proceeds benefit BIPOC organizations. Print & Digital copies available. Click here to grab a zine today: http://www.marshalljameskavanaugh.com/poets-for-peace—zine.html

From Jay Morris on this new collection of poems:
As a follow-up to Vol. 1: Poems for Resistance, we felt called to shift our focus to the importance of resilience to grow through the burdens that weigh us down. For that reason we chose to articulate resilience through the symbolic language of flowers. What we know of flowers is that they transcend the burdens of burial to arise in light and thrive in their ultimate beauty. Consider the lotus and the common weed; one a symbol of inner peace and enlightenment, the other a reminder that we all carry the gift of breaking ground to claim our space in the world.

Volume 2 features writing by: Javan Howard, Quentin The Poet, Lindo Yes, and Cashmere Harper
allied voices include: Ludlow, Valore, and Marian McLaughlin
infographic about POLICE BRUTALITY + RACIAL TRAUMA by Jay Morris
cover designed by Lawson Chambers

I hope that you consider getting a copy today! All proceeds from the zines go to support BIPOC organizations. These orgs provide a platform to fight systemic racism and offer various forms of mutual aid to at-risk groups throughout the region and across the country. Submit your order and I’ll mail you the zines by the end of the week!

Poets For Peace, Zine #2: Poems For Resilience

Columbus and Other Cannibals…

COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS

It seems fitting that there are hundreds of Wetikos armed with baseball bats, hammers, and other instruments of recreational violence hanging around the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia. Wetiko, an Algonquin term that quite literally means cannibal, was recoined by the AIM activist and poet Jack D. Forbes to describe the mentality that Western settlers brought to Turtle Island when they stole it and then began consuming everything around them.

It seems fitting that these self-described South Philly Italians are showing up to defend this statue of their patron saint to imperialism and thus becoming inhabited by the spirit of violence he propagated during his time alive. This is a person who put the Taino people in bondage, chopped off the men’s limbs, fed women and children to wild dogs, and committed other atrocities that are well documented by his peers at the time. He is a Wetiko on a pedestal that still holds a powerful place in history that continues to shape our society today. Check out Jack D. Forbes’ book, Columbus And Other Cannibals to better understand these terms and ideas.

The reason this is especially dangerous is that a Wetiko is contagious. It is no joke when people compare racism to a pandemic. The Wetiko is the very first virus of our minds. Their rage fuels an echo of rage in those they oppress. You cannot fight a Wetiko. Not head on, at least. They will cough on you and you will get sick. To fight them, is to succumb to the spirit of violence that they propagate. You cannot stand by and peacefully let them conquer you either. They will take whatever you allow them to take.

The approach to reclaim your own body and a collective autonomy on your surroundings, must be a balanced and grounded one. It must seek to subvert the pain and violence that the Wetiko wishes to exert on those around it.

There is an easy antidote to cure yourself. John Trudell, another indigenous poet and songwriter of our time, suggests finding a peace of land and becoming a steward to its existence. The hippy generation suggests making love. Both are active ingredients to separating you from the control of the Wetiko.

But how do you spread this grounded peace to cure the Wetiko?

It takes a level head. It takes a big heart. Perhaps an energetic shield and something carried to ground the activist’s spirit. A handful of seeds? Maybe a flower. There are words that can be spoken that will spread like wild fire. A proper cleanse. So that the land within him will be chased by Fireweed, Fire Poppies, and Whispering Bells.

Kill the Man, Save The Wilderness Within.

Pull down Columbus and plant a tree instead.

Columbus and Other Cannibals…

Saturday, May 30th: Walt Whitman virtual reading at Artistry Above Ground Virtual Market

This Saturday, May 30th at 12pm, I’ll be performing a virtual reading of my favorite parts of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass for his 201st birthday, as part of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s #ArtistryAboveGroundMarket. I’ll also read from Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise, a collection of poetry by our current poet laureate that offers an indigenous perspective on the American pastoral. This reading will be followed by a demo where I lead the audience through my writing process for spontaneous typewritten poetry.

Click here to RSVP and attend this virtual event on Zoom

As part of the virtual market, I’ll also be typing poetry on demand based on requests given in real time. Follow the link and sign up for a time to get a poem on any topic and support the other vendors at one of the coolest cemeteries in Philadelphia.

I think as a contemporary writer, it’s important to pay homage to the literary giants who drafted the modern canon before us. I think it’s also the task of every poet out there now to find ways to celebrate the writers who redraft and update this canon for the present moment. I’m excited to share these two narratives in celebration of one of Philly’s literary voices on his 201st trip around the sun. Hope to see you there!
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📸 by Alexa Lewis

Saturday, May 30th: Walt Whitman virtual reading at Artistry Above Ground Virtual Market

Magic Manifestations – Stay Home, Stay Creative

For about two months now, Philadelphia has joined the world in quarantine. Out of the lockdown a whole world of collaboration has sprung. No distance is too much an obstacle for the power of the imagination.

It’s crazy to think I’ve been co-organizing in the #magicmanifestations livestreams for this long. In that time, I’ve had the privilege to share screen time with so many incredible writers, singers, dancers, illustrators, and fellow dreamers. Together we #manifestbyrequest an unending amount of dreams to be performed live for the entertainment of audiences based all around the world. Viewers give us a topic and we bring it to life in front of their eyes!

Did you miss the show? Well, you’re in luck! I decided it was high time to finally make a little montage of all the wild magic that we’ve created together.

Featured in the video are some of the folks based all around the country that I’ve created with. Go give them a follow! In order of appearance, they are: @drawingsbyrequest@quentinthepoet@movedtomove@marianmclaughlin@vianney.paul@juliadayedot, and @lindoyes

The weather is getting nice out and it’s likely I’ll be stepping back from going live as often, in order to get out and enjoy it, but keep an eye out for more Magic Manifestations to come. In the meantime, you can continue to support the dream by requesting a poem or becoming a monthly patron.

Magic Manifestations – Stay Home, Stay Creative

Become a patron and support a dream poet!

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I could use a few more monthly patrons to be sustainable through this pandemic. If you’ve enjoyed a poem in the past, please consider signing up for a monthly subscription. $25 and you’ll receive a personalized poem typed with clean hands once a month sealed in an envelope with other goodies.

Sign up here: https://www.patreon.com/marshalljameskavanaugh

There are other tiers available. Even $1 a month really helps, and I’ll send you a Postcard Haiku to say thank you. I really appreciate all of the support that I’ve already received!

Become a patron and support a dream poet!

News & Updates 1/18/2020

 

Winter Blues won’t slow me down and the novel continues to be written, but let’s take a break from that to post about something I’m really excited about.

This coming week, Police In The Wilderness will be released. Police In The Wilderness is a collection of plays by Cameron Christopher Stuart that I worked closely with the author over several late fall and early winter months to publish. The book features two versions of the same play written and revisited along with various dramatic stagings by Saints of an Unnamed Country over a ten year period, creating an experience to fully absorb the psychedelic audacity of this wild expose on the human wilderness. With themes of climate change, life in a dystopian police state, and mind-altering philosophical dialectics on the birth and death of poetic meaning, this collection could’ve chosen no better time to make its grand entrance into our collective consciousness.

Cameron and I worked together to make this release something special, complete with photos from previous performances, endnotes to give the reader some extended reading to explore, and illustrations by the virtuoso Stephanie Beattie.

Copies will be included with tickets to the live staging of Police In The Wilderness at Patch Works in Brooklyn, NY during its 5 show run from January 22-25, 2020 as part of The Exponential Festival.

Read an interview about the play here: http://bit.ly/2sn31mn
Link to get your tickets is here: https://policeinthewilderness.brownpapertickets.com/

 

News & Updates 1/18/2020

Updates for the forthcoming novel

Writing a novel has been really good for all of my other chores. I find a million and one excuses to keep me from actually sitting down and writing it. Today it was folding my laundry, fixing my bike, shoveling snow, taking a shower, and oh wow! now it’s already time for dinner. Yesterday and the day before I rearranged my room and set up my bookshelf. I even went to a Walt Whitman-inspired open mic and ended up winning runner up in a competition for $100 to see who had the best Whitman-inspired piece of poetry.

That piece was written on the same road trip that this novel is about. We started the trip reciting passages from Leaves Of Grass in the voices that Kerouac and Cassady must have used when they were traveling on the road together back in the days when the Beats were still learning how to rhyme. Eventually we were writing pieces in the same style and one of them that I read last night was judged as second best in a room of Whitman scholars.

The piece is a list of all the cows I saw on the road from here in Philadelphia all the way to San Francisco and back again. A play on the pastoral, set in every type of landscape both urban and otherworldly you can see in this country. Using this nation’s top industry to describe the beauty that these bovine often cause environmental havoc upon.

I guess for me, what stuck out about Walt Whitman is the sense that he’s always making lists. Listing the tiniest details about an odd assortment of working class people and their environment to create a collage of the industrial revolution he witnessed in his lifetime in America. He talked about both the positives and the negatives but let them speak for themselves. And in a sense there was romance in all of the things that he saw, even if some of them were terrible.

The cow piece was a fun piece to write. I had fun having a chance to let it be heard out loud. Didn’t expect much in the way of competition so was happily surprised with its reception.

Anyway, back to the novel…I think it’s a good one. I want to share it with you before it’s published. Open it up to a dialogue. Let you read the pages I’m really proud of.

Like the chapter I wrote last week about Yosemite Valley. I just read it again this afternoon. About ten or fifteen times. That’s another thing I do while writing this novel. Get hung up on chapters that I’m really proud of and then second guess myself that I’ll ever be able to write something as good again. Forget that there’s been plenty of bad novels published that have still been enjoyed by someone. The trick is to just finish them.

So yeah, I’m still writing. Today I’m starting a little later than I would’ve liked to and that’s okay because it’s a miserable winter day outside and I took care of all my other errands that were bogging me down. I’ll keep sharing my progress as it comes.

If you’d like to read the poetry about cows or that chapter about Yosemite Valley go take a look at my Patreon. You can throw me some doll hairs and read my writing. The support will motivate me to keep going on it. Maybe I can even finish it by the end of next month and get started on the next one. There are two novels in my head that have been sitting patiently while I finish writing this one. Anyway, I’d love you to see its pieces and to hear what y’all think. I have a feeling the campaign will be constantly evolving as well, so expect more announcements and other rewards to develop.

Thanks for everyone who’s taken a peek over there. I know there’s plenty of other things to support right now. Travel made me more humble and I’m content with however it all turns out, but think it’s fun to share the process.

Become a patron: http://www.patreon.com/marshalljameskavanaugh

Updates for the forthcoming novel