How can poets mobilize poetry as a change agent? These poets demonstrate the ways that the arts can contribute to the defense of the environment, workers, and oppose war. Philip Metres will discuss the ways in which projects such as Peace Show (Cleveland) and the “Stories of War and Peace Oral Narratives Project” have become counternarratives to war. Jonathan Skinner will present how engaged poets have responded to environmental catastrophe, in particular, poets’ responses to the 2010 BP deepwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Jennifer Karmin will present images from her street performances, Revolutionary Optimism and 4000 Words 4000 Dead. Ken Chen will talk about his activism and work around the Asian-American Writers’ Workshop. Finally, Mark Nowak’s “Revolution in the Service of Poetry” will address how the World Poetry Festival in Caracas, Venezuela, negotiates poetic praxis in the context of the revolutionary state. Finally, Mark Nowak’s “Imaginative Militancy and Trade Union Poetics” will examine his collaborations with global trade unions in recalibrating the role of the poetry workshop.
Ken Chen, Jennifer Karmin, Philip Metres, Mark Nowak, & Jonathan Skinner
True Reformer Building, Board Room, 1200 U Street NW