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By Jack Hirschman:

A momentous event took place in July, 2011 in Medellin, Columbia. Fernando Rendon, the Columbian poet who for the past 21 years has organized the spectacular Medellin International Poetry Festival, this year initiated the formation of the World Poetry Movement (WPM) in order to collectivize poetry festivals on a planetary scale.

The Mission Statement of the WPM is presented below, with particular reference to its first major event, which will take place worldwide on September 24, 2011 in co-ordination with the call by poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion for “100 Thousand Poets for Change”. The call has already set the stage for more than 450 grassroots poetry events on that day, with that number increasing daily. For example, I’ve just come from a Festival of Chinese and American poets in Chengdu, China, where Agneta Falk and I read and met with Chinese poets there and in Beijing who have begun organizing for readings on September 24.

For more on September 24, go to


Statement by the World Poetry Movement

The World Poetry Movement was founded in the context of the World Gathering of Directors from 37 International Poetry Festivals, held in Medellin, Colombia, between April and July 8th, 2011.

There they discussed the connection between poetry and peace, the reconstruction of the human spirit, the reconciliation and recovery of nature, the unity and cultural diversity of peoples, material poverty and poetic justice, and possible actions to take in favor of the globalization of poetry.

A month later, the World Poetry Movement has been joined by 77 international poetry festivals and 317 poets from 83 countries from all continents.

One of the goals is to include most of the strongest international poetry festivals, poets, schools of poetry and printed and virtual publications, to increase our mutual cooperation and thus energize the individual and collective voice of poetry in our time. Recently the World Poetry Movement has been joined by the "100,000 Poets for Change" project, a bold initiative by poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrión, in California, who have proposed the implementation of a worldwide poetic action, next September 24th, 2011 in 350 cities worldwide.

Due to the nature of poetry, the World Poetry Movement supports and will always support the thoughts, actions and measures that can contribute to world peace, the defense of all life on earth, the sustainable development of a new world, the restoration of beauty, dignity and truth, in the process of a persistent strengthening of poetry's presence in contemporary society worldwide. Poetry is knowledge, reflection and enlightenment, liberation, contemplation and action, lightning, creative imagination and brotherhood, spiritual unity of individuals and peoples, past, present and future of humanity.

World Poetic Movement calls on all its members, poets and international poetry festivals, to plan, develop and spread poetic actions and simultaneous poetry readings, across the planet, next September 24th, 2011, to consolidate our organizational process, making a formidable display of poetic power possible in the world, in hundreds of cities and villages on Earth. We ask you to please inform us shortly on the decisions taken regarding this proposal to the following email:

— By the World Poetry Movement Coordinating Committee: Peter Rorvik (South Africa), Bas Kwakman (Netherlands), Jack Hirschman (United States of America), Rati Saxena (India), Alex Pausides (Cuba), Amir Or (Israel), Iryna Vikyrchak (Ukraine), Fernando Rendón (Colombia)

And now look at you, my sweet beautiful monster
I wanted you to stay home with your Mom and me and help raise your son
You could have gone to Jr. College and learned a good trade or business skill
That General said you would make a good soldier
They were looking for a few good men and women
The cultures of war love the sweet smelling sounds of sex, booze and drugs
The General said it was a “just” war for Democracy with a little collateral damage
He would personally recommend you to be the poster child for Uncle Sam
You have sex appeal; that Jenesaisquoi; you could not resist serving your country
It is the sweet scientific thing to do. Your Mom and I did not want you to go
For a long time we have been protesting bad wars for good reasons
We lost friends and relatives and you know how much we were hurt
We believe in blaming the country and not the soldiers for going to war
But we taught you the “Art of War” facts; you read the articles, books and you saw the videos
To poke fun at us, you protested our protest with your big sign reading:
You said there’s a certain erotic beastly beautiful thing about war, rape,
Fires, torture, hangings, domestic violence and sadomasochism
It’s better than belonging to a gang and doing drugs and crime; don’t ask, we won’t tell
My kid said ugly is the new beauty and violence is the new rich
Your Mom and I both agreed that you needed to get some counseling ASAP
The next day you saw the General and joined the Army because you were bored and broke
It was all the wild drug sex life you expected and more than you bargained for
A sweet beautiful horrible experience and you loved every minute of it
Especially the friendly fire until they sent you home to the psyche ward
Laughing out of your head about what a great time you had being a sex toy for Imperialism
After all like the straight talking General, you were just following orders for the slapstick theatre of war
And my sweet beautiful monster, when your baby looks at you confused and crying
Because he does not even recognize his own mother (not like the before picture)
Martin was against the Viet Nam War and Malcolm said we were: “lied to, hoodwinked and bamboozled”
The General argued against the war privately but supported it publicly; he follows orders
He also said he would take the fifth after drinking it first and he was famous for saying:
“Never air the dirty linen of your war Fascist fantasies wet dreams sadomasochistic menageatrois between
You, Uncle Sam and the Taliban that went insanely crazy bad tossing you to the streets with the bottles
And cans you picked up to earn a buck to buy some booze to share a drink in your free public housing
Home under the bridge where you are not even counted among the unemployed; it does not matter
Because war is so freaky, sexist and sexy. Don’t ask, my savvy sugar horny honey bun, and we won’t tell!”

—Wardell Montgomery Jr., Urban Folk Poet, 313-821-8660
©2010 Wardell Montgomery Jr. (11-21-10)
This poem was inspired by John Dower’s book: “Cultures of War”
Interviewed by Sanho Tree on CSPAN November 21, 2010


This article originated in the People's Tribune
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