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Saturday, 19 November 2011

true People's Poetry is in the parks with Occupy

Hi Conrad,
Thanks, once again, for adding a rip tide or two to Riffs & Ripples. Everything needs stirring up from time to time to keep the waters clean & the currents moving. Thanks also for letting me post your piece on my blog.

Yeah, the whole Occupy movement at first seemed formless to many, but mainly just inchoate to me. I can see so many influences of other populist & progressive movements, even in these earliest stages: the Civil Rights Movement, nationalist independence movements like India,  gay rights, feminism, even, as you alluded to in your poem, the sexual revolution. There are also some strong, new & very welcome, elements to this movement, foremost being its insistence on democracy, to the extent of often being overly democratic or ultrademocratic - an interesting departure from the 'great men' style of leadership many of the '60s movements fell into. This avoidance of self-procalimed leaders is refreshing.

Also the presence of First Nations people keeping a spirit flame. In Canada (Kanada?) this shameful part of our history has only begun to be addressed. (A FAIR COUNTRY by John Ralston Saul an excellent source)

With so many issues, the Occupy movement has wisely chosen the inclusive slogan WE ARE THE 99%. This is true People's Power, which should be the basis for all true People's Poetry. Milton Acorn organized a free speech movement in Toronto's parks in the early '60s, and I'm sure Milt is smiling somewhere. Milt's strongest totem creatures were ravens and and crows, and I was pleased to see their presence in your poem  : ) 

If Milt were alive in human form, I know he'd be down at one of the camps reading his poetry. Shouting it, more likely  :  )  I SHOUT LOVE, or YOU GROWING, poem after poem.

I feel badly that I haven't been to the camps yet, but I intend to visit St. James Park within the next day or so. I'm driving into TO soon to participate in the tribute to Raymond Souster at Runnymede Public Library on Tuesday evening, so once in TO I'll have no excuse for not participating in Occupy.

I have fantasies of sitting under a tree & reading (or shouting) poems from Milt's MORE POEMS FOR PEOPLE to share the poetry of Canada's best poet with this new generation of progressive activists. Perhaps some other poets & I can eventually organize a group poetry reading or somesuch in the park, or even better, maybe some of the Occupiers will join in reading their own work, or in sharing more of Milt's and maybe Big Al's poetry. There's a support Occupy reading at a TO cafe this Sunday, but the real spirit of People's Poetry is best shared in the open air of the people's commons, the parks of Toronto, with a crow or raven or two cawing appreciatively overhead.

gotta go, company arrived, Chase barking
peace & poetry power!
Chris ... and Chase ...wroooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooofffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!!!

On 2011-11-19, at 9:59 AM, Conrad DiDiodato wrote:

Conrad DiDiodato has left a new comment on your post ""Occupy: a softening and a relenting (perhaps)" - ...":

Thanks, Chris

Maybe you can take the man out of socialism but never the socialist out of the man

For some reason this whole "Occupy" thing doesn't sit well with me, & I just can't seem to give a straightforward explanation for it: one day for, one day against. My idea of Occupy is the Al Purdy statue at Queen's Park. I think it's about time people's poets took back our poetry from the academics who stole & bastardized it in the name of experimentalism. I'd love to see a good ol'fashioned 'occupy' of academia.

But, again, my thanks to you for publishing my scribblings here &, more importantly, for putting up my anti-Occupy rants in your comment streams. As you would say,

Posted by Conrad DiDiodato to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 19 November 2011 06:59

1 comment:

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Great post, Chris!

Your comment about Acorn and the crows (his and the ones in my poem)almost knocked me off my chair. Wow!

I hope you do organize a reading event at Al's statue in the park: in fact, I recall saying to James Deahl a few years ago we ought to run just such an event. If you do it in spring or summer of 2012, I'll be there.

Maybe reading poetry with Occupiers might bring me over completely to their side.

Have an awesome Marmora day, you and Chase!