February 12 is the first anniversary of the White House Symposium on Poetry that prompted us to form Poets Against the War. It is therefore altogether fitting that we should celebrate that date with poetry readings across the United States (and indeed around the world) once again.
We are asking poets everywhere to join with us to note that date and to include poems by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes in public readings and discussions. These were the poets the White House attempted to co-opt for their symposium, which we successfully brought to a close.
We think it entirely appropriate that wherever possible these readings be held in our libraries to acknowledge the thousands upon thousands of loyal librarians who have refused to comply with the unAmerican aspects of the Patriot Act that would turn librarians into de facto agents of Homeland Security and infringe upon every citizen's right to read in private.
Please contact your local public library, or college or university library, and initiate an afternoon or evening of poetry and political straight talk to counter the lies, deceptions, and unAmerican activities of this administration. We ask each of you to consider what Whitman, Dickinson
or Hughes might have said in response to the Patriot Act, to the proposed Patriot Act II, and to this administration's cynical efforts to spread fear and intimidation and to silence its detractors.
We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope you will join us in designing an effective 2004 campaign to regain our Constitutional rights and re-establish a democratic government in these United States.
-- Sam Hamill and the Board of Poets Against the War