Article Title

A Monk's Tale


In his paper, "A Monk's Tale," Sam Hamill recounts his ongoing commitment to using poetry as a form of protest and explains how poetry bridges the personal and the public, weaving together the life of one poet and that of an entire globe. In late January 2003, in response to an invitation to a symposium by Laura Bush to celebrate "Poetry and the American Voice," Hamill declined to participate; a longtime pacifist, he could not in good faith visit the White House following the recent news of George W. Bush's plan for a unilateral "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq. Instead, he asked about fifty fellow poets to "reconstitute a Poets Against War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam ... to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend your names to our petition against this war" by submitting poems of protest he would send to the White House. When 1,500 poets responded within four days, he created the website Poets Against War as a means of handling the enormous, unexpected response.