Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Best Poems From La Bloga On-line Floricanto 2016


La Bloga On-line Floricanto Ten Best Poems in 2016
Michael Sedano

Since 2010, La Bloga and the Facebook poetry community Poets Responding to SB 1070 have collaborated to publish new work written in the spirit of resistance that galvanized around Arizona's prohibition in its public schools of ideas and books.

Today, to inaugurate the team's efforts in 2017,  the Moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance nominate the work of ten poets. Most fittingly, Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón, remembers the poet who founded the Facebook group in 2010 as a centro for geographically separated poets. Their muse goads them to examine and respond to repression with poetry as a fitting mode of expression. They get to speak as a result of Alarcón's vision.

It is a classic "rhetorical situation," as scholars term, in which an exigency can be mitigated or fixed by expression. In the same sense, this clearly also is a cultural situation, where the exigency threatens one's right to exist, making affirmations of self and identification useful barriers against cultural repression.

2017 looks to be a year that will goad poets to produce maelstroms of expression. For now, La Bloga and  Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance celebrate 2016 and the expressions of ten poems in two language from ten poets. We are better because of their words:

Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón 
By Juan Felipe Herrera

To the Man Sitting across from Us at the Hospital in Harlingen, Texas 
By César L. De León

The Pulse of a Rainbow
By Kai Coggin

Geographic Dreaming
or what it means to be Chicana
By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Remembering Fukushima, Nagasaki and Hiroshima 
By Sharon Elliott

We speak of mighty things 
By Jolaoso PrettyThunder

Notes on the Holy Ghost and Her Atheist Daughter 
By Sonia Gutiérrez

Mni Wiconi
By Iris De Anda

Leaving the Candle On Overnight 
By Edward Vidaurre

Nochixtlán 
Por Guadalupe González Pérez

Tejer la tarde 
Por Oralia Rodríguez



Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón
By Juan Felipe Herrera

Francisco de la plumas de Quetzal of the Quetzal feathers
the one who walked with healing-heart calls and copal incense
for all - the ones on the sidewalks the ones in the cafés & corners
you do not mind singing for all you do not think of that you sing
you make offerings year by year for the migrants for the hungry
the bread you bake is for every table the house you build covers
every child every familia in every color & vision of life yes this is
how you have chanted in every barrio school and city how can it
be we ask -- it is your heart that answers the call and it is your sky
shaped life that that makes it possible -- today it is our turn to sing
to you - to send you healings from the life fountains
heal in your beauty
heal in your body
heal in our lives
heal in all life within all life
for all life once again


Juan Felipe Herrera is 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the United States. He is serving a second term. See the Library of Congress’ site for additional biographical details.
https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/herrera/



To the Man Sitting across from Us at the Hospital in Harlingen, Texas
By César L. de León

I know that look I know
that look
on your face
that glare
from across
the waiting room
I know it isn’t
My torn jeans
or my mother’s red skirt
you scowl at
with impunity
I know it’s our voices
our words
our lengua
sparking
your teeth-grinding
your jaw-locking so
I enunciate more carefully
I set each syllable on fire
papá
corazón
dolor
cuerpo
your eyes narrow
your mouth fills up
I see
your body shifts
in the chair
I know
what you want to say you want to tell us
“in America you speak
English, not Mexican”
I’ve heard it before but today
you simply spit in
our direction
I’ve seen it before
Did you expect me to turn my eyes down?
Were you surprised when I didn’t flinch?


César L. De León lives in south Tejas. His poetry has been published in various anthologies and journals. He is currently a candidate for an MFA in creative writing with a graduate certificate in Mexican American Studies at UTRGV.


The Pulse of a Rainbow
By Kai Coggin

You might not think
such a thing exists,
the pulse of a rainbow,
a heartbeat
made of only light
and color,
dance,
expanding,
arches bending across skies,
a vibration that resonates
through time
and space
and history
and place,
but it does exist,
it always has existed,
it always will exist and persist through even this,
the pulse of a rainbow.

It is a quiet pulse,
a rhythm that imbues culture,
fierce and ravishing,
soft butch,
high femme,
blurred gender lines,
bears and queers,
trans and boi and bi,
every shade of a spectrum
that can’t be named by naked eyes,
if only this country could hear the music
we make with our lives,
muted for so long
with the pages of an ancient book
quoted from fundamentalist cherry-picking lips,
muffled for so long
against the bigoted legislations of men,
silenced for so long
amidst the fists and rapid fire bullets of hate,
but
it is still here.

The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.

The pulse of a rainbow,
always a drum,
always a pulse you can recognize
when you see another rainbow on the street, dancing,
and suddenly you dance inside,
you shine brighter,
when you look into the eyes of a stranger
and know the struggle
shares your names,
when you know that this family is thicker than blood
and when that innocent blood is spilled,
you feel it in your heartbeat
skipping with
the loss, the grief, the emptiness
the
stopped-
quick-
pulse-
of a rainbow.

49 lives,
one self-loathing homophobic psychopath
opened fire and took 49 lives,
and all the colors of the rainbow
turned to red that night,
no yellow, orange, green, blue, violet,
only red,
red for miles,
red becoming the music,
red becoming bass pumping into now,
red spilling into the 2am Orlando streets,
red becoming the floor, the walls, the building,
red mingling with other reds
until just heaps
of
fallen
rainbows
lie there in the wake
of one man’s slaughter wet-dream,
a dance floor becomes a sea
of bodies and blood ankle deep,
a tomb, minutes before was a sanctuary,
and
where does a rainbow go when it dies?

The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.

I read the news as it comes in,
the body count growing
from 20 to 50
to 49
because we will not count him
with the innocents,
with the bright faced beautiful souls
extinguished too soon,

and I read of the silence in the dead room
turning into a cacophony of cell phones
ring-singing a song of harmonized panic
from the pockets of the slain,
and
PLEASE DON’T LET HIS/HER NAME
COME UP AMONG THE LIST OF THE FALLEN

“pick up the phone”
“baby, please pick up the phone”
“please text me back!”
“did you get out?”
“are you ok?”
“pick up the phone”

“Mommy I love you… I’m going to die.”

The sounds of 49 phones play a chorus of grief,
their interwoven song
becomes the music this new flock of angels can dance to
as they leave their earthly bodies,
rise as souls, still dancing,
always dancing
always laughing, singing,
doing what rainbows do… shine.

The pulse.

I feel it stronger in me this morning,
my heart sick with grief for these strangers
that I know so well,
through the tears somehow
my colors are renewed,
infused with
the vibrant light of them,
their beautiful brown queer skin
making my skin more brown and queer in their names,
the pulse
a drum cry of grief turned power chanting
into the face of a country that does not see us until we die en masse,
a country that hashtags #prayers but votes for bigots,
a country that holds tighter to its guns
than it does its gay children.

The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.

And I can’t stop looking at their beautiful young faces,
can’t stop reading the details about their lives,
the 49 holes left in families,
49 love stories with rewritten endings,
a future wedding now a joint funeral,
the mothers,
their families and friends, yes,
but I return to the wailing howl of their mothers,
I think of my mother, how she would bawl a new ocean,

it is raining outside,
it is raining so hard the atmosphere is breaking,
candlelight vigils materialize across the country,
the President orders flags to be flown at half-mast,
(the rainbow flag has always flown at half mast)
bridges and buildings light up with rainbows,
spires of the tallest skyscrapers cut the night,
the Eiffel Tower blasts colors into the sky,
unity through tragedy,
Pride getting prouder,
cries for gun control finally getting louder,
and maybe this is the tipping point
we have been waiting for,
as democrats chant “where’s the bill?”
after a moment of silence
on the House of Representatives floor.

How many more mass graves must we dig
with the blunt end of an AR-15?

The pulse.
The pulse.
The pulse.

I sit here,
safe in my home,
colors burning to write a poem.
I read their 49 names like a mantra,
say them into the air
to make them more real,
shape their beautiful syllables
with my mouth to make their loss more palpable,
repeat them for the infinite
times they will not be said aloud in the years to come,
their names become
a prayer,
a poem,
a dance to every love song ever written

I become the pulse.
We all become the pulse.

The pulse of a rainbow.



Kai Coggin is a former Teacher of the Year turned poet and author living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a BA in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A & M University, and writes poems on love, spiritual striving, body image, injustice, metaphysics, and beauty. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed Buddha, Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, SunStruck Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Snapdragon, Women’s Spiritual Poetry, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals and anthologies.

Kai is the author of two full-length collections, PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014) and WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016). Her poetry has been nominated twice for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016. She teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth. www.kaicoggin.com






Geographic Dreaming
or what it means to be Chicana

By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Dreams of place to call our own
one where we are at home
in our melding of ancestor cultures
Of razas who never left us
who refused to melt away
in that pressure cooker pot
Which has become the way
in these lands called US of America
a place for all, but for no one different
You must fit their mold
complete with Indo-European looks
what their hate speech spewed down
In all the papers and books
of what is Supreme
what they’ve built this system
On the backs of our world
But this is about what it means
to be me, a woman of that Raza Cosmica
who is Chicana proud despite all the years
Of not fitting Here nor There
knowing we were something new
a mezcla to embrace
Holding my head high
teaching the young ones
to be one-hundred percent
Proud of all of who we are
birthing that nation of ours
together with them


Odilia Galván Rodríguez poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of five volumes of poetry, her latest, is a collaboration with photographer Richard Loya, The Nature of Things, from Merced College Press. She is also co-editor, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, of the anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, The University of Arizona Press, 2016. For several decades she’s worked as the editor for several magazines, most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba and Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal online. She also facilitates Empowering People Through Creative Writing workshops nationally, and teaches on-line. Galván Rodriguez is also the administrator for the Poets Responding to SB 1070 and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and well-being of many people. Her poetry and short fiction has been widely anthologized in creative writing collections and literary journals in print and on-line media.


Remembering Fukushima, Nagasaki and Hiroshima
By Sharon Elliott

“Human memory has a tendency to slip, and critical judgment to fade, with the years and with changes in life-style and circumstance.” ~ Yosuke Yamahata, who photographed Nagasaki a day after the atomic bomb was dropped

serene brutality of the sea
conjured
by mad dogs
and bent men
throwing juju at the cold moon
folly of arrogance
speaks
with chaotic urgency

a storm created in her name
by misuse and ignorance
casts towering waves on the sand
ravenous
at the edges of perception
radioactive

mothers
gather young ones
with seaweed hair
in arms too weak to hold them
sing their own hearts
into vapor
aching moans scratch
at brains attempting
to make sense
of broken morning

fingernails crack
torn away from the beds
weary from holding on
small watchers
befriend snakes
poisonous frogs
too feeble to move

may this fate never
come to them again
three times is
three too many
moratorium
must be enforced
by those responsible
those who know
and do nothing
those who cast a blind eye
this very moment
arguing economics

the door is open
can’t be closed
or locked
rusting hinges
can only be partially cleaned
so they don’t squeak
quite so much

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Elliott. All Rights Reserved.



Sharon Elliott has been a writer and poet activist over several decades beginning in the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, and four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador, especially in multicultural women’s issues. She is a Moderator of Poets Responding to SB1070, and has featured in poetry readings in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in several anthologies and her poem “Border Crossing” appears in the anthology entitled Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodriguez, eds. She has read it in Los Angeles at AWP and La Pachanga 2016 book launch, in San Francisco and at the Féis Seattle Céiliedh in Port Townsend, WA. Her book, Jaguar Unfinished, was published by Prickly Pear Press, 2012.





We speak of mighty things
By Jolaoso PrettyThunder

here on Mount Vision I trace your face
a crescent moon above the Monterey cypress
and long to speak to you
of the phosphorescence in the hidden cove
i want to ask you do you remember?
if not I will tell you this
late, well after midnight the eucalyptus
bent down so deeply she reached into the sea, touched it
this was the season of fury
a time when artists tear their studios apart
cuss God and break their most precious possessions in one night
season of secrets and making pacts
we eat stale bread, drink rum
and walk through the opium after midnight
evermore
driftwood smoke
here i will always know you
we are out at Laird’s Landing
and slipped out of our clothes and into the sea
swimming under the full moon We are Illuminated
and became a school of perch then 7000 swallows
i try to retrace the steps and spy a glance of the she-cat
she must have left when you did


Jolaoso Pretty Thunder is a common earth-woman. She lives in the woods of Northern California with her family and two dogs Rosie Farstar and Ilumina Holy Dog. She’s a practitioner and student of herbal medicine (Western, Vedic, TCM, and Lukumi). She is also an ordained minister of the First Nations Church, and founder of The Cloud Women’s Dream Society. She is a well-traveled though reluctant poet, who loves southern rock, porch swings, pickup trucks, cooking, campfires, lightning, steak, gathering and making medicine, and singing with friends and family.





Notes on the Holy Ghost and Her Atheist Daughter
By Sonia Gutiérrez

“Amá—promise me when you die you will return and talk to me,”
I request months before a tall Seqouia tree with long emaciated branches
elongates her last breaths.
I.

When I am finally ready,
I call out, Mamá,
and the laptop turns on.
I talk with you, floating electrical current,
who flickers lights.

We talk for about ten minutes—
I say my goodbyes.
Gracias Mamá por tomarte el tiempo
para hablar conmigo.
Mother always on point; the laptop turns off.

II.

You are looming, emitting soft gentle tinkers
above the glass bulb holders.
Who knew your presence could make
such sweet sounds even in spirit?

How do you that? Are you holding an invisible fork?

III.

You are already in the room when Father returns
to celebrate you.

He opens the guest room,
and you turn off the lights on a whim.
I tease Dad, “Es mi Amá.
¿Qué hiciste pa’ que te apagara la luz?”

IV.

Queen of the Cempasuchil, on your day,
family comes from distant places to be with you,
our Holy Ghost.

The tamales and champurrado are ready.
Come and eat. Oh, please don't hide behind
the white columns. We are all here waiting
with our bony faces.

V.

Around here, in front of your bedroom window,
your green thumb is still present in the earth.
Outside, a thorny rose bush blooms the heaviest of reds.
Mother, you look so majestic dressed in deep green foliage.

In dreams, wearing a crown of flowers and an obsidian face,
you tell me, your atheist daughter, Dios te ilumine, Mija.


Sonia Gutiérrez teaches English composition and critical thinking and writing. Her poems have appeared in La Jornada Semanal, Konch Magazine, and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Change. Her vignettes have appeared in the London Journal of Fiction, AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, and Huizache. Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication.
She is a contributing editor for The Writer’s Response (Cengage Learning, 2016). Her second poetry collection, Legacy / Herencia, is seeking publication. Presently, she is moderating Poets Responding to SB 1070, working on Sana sana colita de rana, a poetry collection, and revisiting Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel. Her poem, “The Garden of Dreams,” is forthcoming in Poetry in Flight / Poesía en vuelo: Anthology in Celebration of El Tecolote.


Mni Wiconi
By Iris De Anda

There is a black snake
slithering in the shadows
of sacred stones
There is a white people
sleeping in the illusion
of oil oblivion
There is a rainbow warrior
rising in the sun
of pachamamas prophecy
There is you & I
at a crossroads
so choose
water is life
Agua Es Vida

mni wiconi

Iris De Anda is a Guanaca Tapatia who hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic at the Eastside Cafe every third Thursday of the month. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon. www.irisdeanda.com


Leaving the Candle On Overnight
By Edward Vidaurre

I.

Invites the dead

Leaving a candle on overnight
Invites roaming spirits that walk
in the shadows of the moon’s smile.

I wait for the hands
of my dead father to hold mine.
There’s plenty of room in my home now
For his luggage, his disease, his dead suit.


II.

She waits for her father to visit and sit on our couch.
She bakes a chocolate cake in her dreams with strawberries,
just as he loved. She has a placemat that’s been empty
for too long now. I see him with his long fingers to his mouth
telling me not to wake her. He loves her silence and sound sleep.
He cries into her hair and walks slowly through the walls.

III.

She goes to bed most nights not knowing:
while she sleeps and dreams of dance class and storytelling
one man sits at her side feeding her mangoes

the other man sits at her feet
trying to communicate in a language that was forced back to
the jungles of his country.

He begs to be called abuelo.

Edward Vidaurre is the author of four books. I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip, (Slough Press 2013), Insomnia (El Zarape Press 2014), Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press 2015), and his latest collection Chicano Blood Transfusion (FlowerSong Books) was published this year. Vidaurre is the founder of Pasta, Poetry, and Vino--a monthly open mic gathering of artists, poets, and musicians. He resides in McAllen, TX with his wife and daughter





Nochixtlán
Por Guadalupe González Pérez

¿ Has sentido ese temor al caer la noche?
¿ Esa ansiedad que de madrugada te despierta ?
¿ Has percibido ese temblor que recorre tu cuerpo al despertar ?
Y se va escondiendo entre los quehaceres de lo cotidiano,
y vuelve a ti cada atardecer.
¿ Quizás sea la incertidumbre?
¿ Quizás sea la vida misma?
Que inquietante te consume ya.
Hoy despierto a una realidad cambiante, usualmente para mí y los míos mejor.
Tristemente hoy despierto a una realidad atroz.
¿Puedes imaginar el temor que acecha a los habitantes de Nochixtlán?
A los más pequeños,
Si, a ellos, a los niños.
Puedes imaginar esos monstruos
que de noche los acechan.
Esas vigilias eternas en las que sus almas están.
Que nos expliquen los legisladores,
finalmente en esta reforma
algo de verdad nos salió mal.
Es de bestias matar por matar.
Es absurdo el callar.
No debemos callar más.
Finalmente entre estudiantes, maestros y civiles,
entre la ausencia de autoridad,
la vendetta de los partidos políticos,
los abusos de los cuerpos policiales,
de muerte, absurdos y rojo sangre se ha teñido Nochixtlán



Guadalupe González Pérez. From the generation of 1971, Guadalupe was born in Brownsville, Tx, raised and educated in Matamoros, Tamaulipas Mexico.
Graduated and certified from Law School in Mexico. She became a Bilingual Certified Teacher by the State of Texas.

De la generación del 71, Guadalupe es originaria de Brownsville Tx, criada y formada en Matamoros, Tamaulipas Mexico. Graduada y certificada de la Escuela de Derecho en México. Se acreditó como Maestra Bilingüe por el Estado de Texas.




Tejer la tarde
Por Oralia Rodríguez

Montar la cadena,
de los primeros días
pespuntes a las paredes,
encontrarme en la risa
en la incertidumbre
de hilos rojizos
para bordar la tarde,
un derecho, un revés.

Buscar lo que no soy,
historias remendadas,
voces en la sangre,
una vuelta,
sobrehilar los pasos
de pájaros ciegos,
cuando la metáfora
es pecado
y el dolor es sólo
un derecho o un revés.

Los demonios deshilan
punto tras punto los miedos,
recodifican la identidad,
punzan el subconsciente,
me anudan a la soledad,
expandirme
y no encontrar
la geometría de un cuerpo,
un derecho, un revés.

Inocencia de palabras,
un punto al aire,
palabras que danzan silentes,
un derecho, un revés.

Adolecer apegos,
noches fragmentadas
que alfileres no sostienen,
códigos y puntos
para remachar
los días sin esquina
y remendar la casa de la infancia,
volver a ser niña
y no ser nombrada,
un derecho, un revés.

Fronteras trazadas al vuelo,
fragmentos de intimidad,
mariposas de caleidoscopio.
Anillar los instantes de tu sexo
al naufragio de tus muslos,
florecer en lluvia roja,
metamorfosis,
un derecho, un revés.

Trozos de tarde
para anudarlos
a la mirada,
volver, recorrer los rincones,
atar lo que me fue negado,
menguar y
gritar lo que no soy,
las palabras, los días,
el abandono.

Punto, tras punto,
remachar,
un derecho,
un revés,
un derecho,
un revés,
terminar.



Oralia Rodríguez. Originaria de Jerez Zacatecas, radica en Tijuana B.C. Estudió la Licenciatura en Informática en el Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana, y la Licenciatura en educación Primaria en la Normal Fronteriza Tijuana. La maestría en Cultura Escrita en el Centro de Posgrado y Estudios Sor Juana, cursó el Diplomados Creación Literaria certificado por el INBA.

Se desempeña como docente. Ha participado en diferentes antologías de México y Argentina. Publicó dos cuentos infantiles ¨Lobo, Lobito¨ y ¨Murmullos en el bosque¨. El poemario ¨Habitada de nostalgia¨ para el 5º Encuentro Latinoamericano de escritores Hidalgo 2013. Y el poemario Trozos de tarde para no ser olvido de Nódulo Ediciones 2016.



Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón By Juan Felipe Herrera
To the Man Sitting across from Us at the Hospital in Harlingen, Texas By César L. De León
The Pulse of a Rainbow By Kai Coggin
Geographic Dreaming or what it means to be Chicana By Odilia Galván Rodríguez
Remembering Fukushima, Nagasaki and Hiroshima By Sharon Elliott
We speak of mighty things By Jolaoso PrettyThunder
Notes on the Holy Ghost and Her Atheist Daughter By Sonia Gutiérrez
Mni Wiconi By Iris De Anda
Leaving the Candle On Overnight By Edward Vidaurre
Nochixtlán Por Guadalupe González Pérez
Tejer la tarde Por Oralia Rodríguez

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful & powerful poems! Felicidades poetas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The time to expand the country’s literary and political imagination is upon us. Join many of the country's leading storytellers, poets, and creative nonfiction writers in a

    National Write-Out
    #Natlwriteout

    Wednesday, January 18 through Saturday, February 18, 2017.

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    Author, link to their piece using the #Natlwriteout hashtag
    Author, “”
    Author, “”

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    (The National Writeout is a student-led initiative born during a brainstorm held by students at the Antioch MFA program, the country’s only social justice-focused MFA program. For more information email us at fightandwrite@gmail.com.)

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