Friday, October 23, 2015

two chapbooks found in a DC bookstore

Poems by Peppino
self published
Fairfax, VA

One of the poems in this 29 page collection is entitled “Everyone is Born a Poet”. There are more letters of certificate in this staple-bound nightmare than poems. And no, dear poet, you are wrong: not everyone is born to be a poet any more than everyone is born to walk on the moon. And I am being generous to this author. My guess is that he wrote most of his life and wasn’t really taken serious as a poet except by poetry societies around the country. But as Groucho Marx famously observed, “I would never be a member of any organization that would have me as a member.” (Okay, I am slightly paraphrasing). But, alas, I will acknowledge the man. He probably was a dear man at that. His kind of poetry is a disservice to modern poetics all the same and I pulped this chapbook the moment I posted this.

Voices from the Struggle
Poetry from the Movement to End Poverty
Published on the University of Pennsylvania campus

Poems from homeless and former homeless people in the greater Philadelphia region representing a number of End Poverty organizations. It’s an interesting object. The poems come from the gut and the street. They are raw. There is no polish, no attempt at refinement. That’s not what this is about : it’s a call for action. Unfortunately, the action that is what is called for is unlikely to be achieved without a revolution and that won’t end poverty either, really. It is the treatment of the poor that needs to change. These are not lepers, they are fellow citizens who for whatever reason have slipped off the grid. The Wall Street crowd may dismiss them as “takers”, the way Mitt Romney did during the last Presidential campaign but they are like any other citizen of this country – only poorer. Poverty is not in and of itself a sign of failure any more than wealth is a sign of success. Many wealthy people were born into that privilege. It’s a matter of birth. It ought not to be inherited but it is. In the same way, helping people out of poverty ought to be a priority of the policy makers in Washington, DC. but it isn’t. Special interests rule the day. That’s the saddest commentary I can make on this tiny chapbook, it needs to be remade every year! EVERY SINGLE YEAR

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