Resilience is human nature

The February/March 2017 issue of The Poetry Project Newsletter is online now.

 Issue #250 includes:

New Year’s Marathon

poetry-project-for-web-360x593-12016 is almost over! Believe it!
All this will soon be behind us. And what better way to celebrate the new year than with a poetry marathon?

I have the great honor of reading this year at the Poetry Project’s 43rd Annual New Year’s Day Marathon.

131 E. 10th St. NYC from 3pm January 1st until.
$25 general admission, $20 students/seniors/members.

Come through. I’ll be there some time along with lots of other wonderful poets & musicians.

Let’s get 2017 started right.

fb details: https://www.facebook.com/events/320515378334361/

If you’re interested in getting involved behind the scenes and getting into the Marathon for FREE, consider volunteering two hours of your time to help to make the event happen. Email lh@poetryproject.org for more information or to sign-up.

shld’ve already posted this

photo credit: Sean McGinty

This Library Journal thing happened, which is very cool. We’ve been named Movers & Shakers for 2012. They shouted out Mandy, Michael & I but obviously, the library is the glorious manifestation of the hard work of everyone who’s helped build The People’s Library and kept it going through the winter. Mad props to everybody who ever helped out. And thank you, Library Journal for noticing.

Also, it’s National Poetry Month. I’ve got a few poems out in this month’s Brooklyn Rail.

 

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! (Keats)

I spent time yesterday at the Department of Sanitation digging through the rubble of what was left from Liberty Park. It was the second day I’ve spent doing it. The NYPD officers there know me by now and we’re friendly enough to chat to help pass the time. I was asked more than once why more people hadn’t shown up for their stuff. I didn’t have a good answer. Maybe they don’t know about it or maybe it’s too difficult to get here. Others posit that we’re just too lazy to get it together to get uptown or maybe we don’t want to be in the system because we’ve got priors or something to hide.

Yesterday I was really interested in filing claims against the city and Bloomberg that they should pay for what they’ve destroyed (“destruction of private property–that’s an actionable offense.”). But today I’m wondering how could they ever? It’s impossible to repay. We’ve got two different realities at clash. This is the paradigm shift we’ve been talking about for so long. One reality is Bloomberg’s world of finance and hierarchy, where people just follow their orders and there are claims to file. The other isn’t even about that. It’s not all about finance, it’s a gift economy. The second reality is a world of interdependence and connection, of mutual aid and relationships.

When I move to file a claim against the city, my underlying need is for some retribution, some justice. I want my whole community back, but it can’t be bought with monies paid out by the city comptroller. What I mourn is the destruction of the love and goodwill that was embodied in the creation and daily life of Liberty Park.

It’s not just the cost of the tents and the sleeping bags, the clothing and all the gear. It’s not just about how much the electronics cost or the generators or any other thing. Their true value isn’t reflected in their money cost. Justin’s leather portfolio was given to him at graduation by his grandfather. It is irreplaceable. Its value doesn’t derive from the cost of the leather or of the craftsmanship of the thing in itself. The value is in the love the object was steeped in and the feeling it created over time.

So too the People’s Library built entirely of generosity, of love. So too all the tents, all the mittens, all the jackets, all the socks. Every pizza, every energy bar, every bottle of water. Almost every aspect of life at Liberty Park was created through a generosity of community spirit with a foundation in love. This is not quantifiable. It is the destruction of our home, of our community.

What happened at Liberty Park wasn’t just clearing a park of a bunch of campers or people leaving piles of books around, it was an attempt to sever the ties of love, community and support that had taken root and begun to grow.

I believe that what any gardener knows will prove true for our community as well. Bloomberg’s deadheaded us and our community– temporarily destroyed the visible, flowering growth. It’s almost impossible to kill a plant by deadheading, it’s actually one of the best methods for creating new growth. Now our roots can grow deeper and stronger. Thanks again for your help, Mr. Bloomberg! It really is the beginning of the beginning.

Biblioklept

Originally, I just swiped your tag @marykvalle and @JeffSharlet– Bloomberg Bibliocide– but only because it’s so lovely. Thank you for it. Bibliocide. But it could be meaning the degradation of the book’s narrative when re-cast as a film. It could also sound like we’re calling for his death by books. Maybe biblioklept instead? I’ll change it here, but know please, in my heart that I love you and your tags.

xo,
Betsy
@blizf

Here are some links:

Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011111681642279467.html

AlterNet: http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/731822/bloomberg%27s_bibliocide_update_on_confiscated_%22people%27s_library%22_books/

American Libraries: http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/news/11162011/occupy-wall-street-library-regrows-manhattan

Library Journal: http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/892805-264/occupy_wall_street_library_removed.html.csp

NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/occupy-wall-street-protesters-return-zuccotti-park-tents-head-depot-reclaim-belongings-article-1.978485?localLinksEnabled=false

New York Times: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/protesters-find-their-belongings-in-chaos-at-a-city-garage/

Rachel Maddow Show (11/15/11): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/45316274#45316274

The Stranger: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/11/16/nypd-didnt-realize-that-you-can-damage-books-by-throwing-them-around (Yes, that’s a Bible on top of the pile)

Village Voice: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/11/occupy_wall_street_library.php

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/occupy-library-bloombergs-book-problem/2011/11/16/gIQAhHcrRN_blog.html?socialreader_check=0&denied=1

WNYC: http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-blog/2011/nov/16/zuccotti-park-demonstrators-trying-reclaim-items-confiscated-police/

All Roads Lead to Wall Street

 

I can’t sleep at night.
I keep getting asked what I’m doing at Wall Street. I’ll tell you why I’m at Wall Street as succinctly as possible. My reasons change, but at 4:37 this morning, here’s why
(Betsy’s personal top 10 + 1)

  • because decent childcare costs more than I could earn working full time
  • because my parents are trying to get by on Social Security
  • because my public library keeps having service cuts and has to perpetually fund-raise to keep doors open
  • because of the state of public education
  • because of how long it will take me to pay off my student loan debt
  • because of the state of the health care system
  • because of the death penalty
  • because of war without end
  • because of climate reality
  • because of gender inequality
  • because of violence, abuse and neglect in its myriad forms

I don’t sleep at night, but I dream another world is possible.
And so it is.
Ashé

Tangled Spaces

Tangled Spaces:
Poets Writing Motherhood

Meena Alexander, Kimiko Hahn, Nicole Cooley, Lee Ann Brown, Tina Chang, Marcella Durand, Betsy Fagin, Idra Novey, Tracy K. Smith, Leah Souffrant, Karen Weiser, Rachel Zucker, Cate Marvin, Erica Hunt

How do we theorize a poetics of motherhood?  Attentive to divergent experiences of motherhood and using the maternal as a field that hovers outside neat categorization, this symposium will investigate the poetics of the maternal self and body through the experiences of women of color, adoptive mothers and single mothers.

Thu Sep 29, 2011, 4:00pm | Martin E. Segal Theatre
CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue NYC