Friday, September 6, 2013

Poetry Friday Poems for Social Justice

Indivisible: Poems for Social Justice is a fine collection of poems for high school students, edited by Gail Bush and Randy Meyer and published by Norwood House, a small independent educational publisher.  A poetic journey through 20th century poems moves the reader down a road "leading toward action for social change."

Our library specialist at Delaney, the company I work for as a sales rep to schools, chose this book as one of the best of the fall collection for the library market.

Poets represent the diversity of American culture and include Tupac Shakur, Wendell Berry, Kenneth Rexroth, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, Ishmael Reed, Assotto Saint, Fawaz Turki, Natasha Trethaway, Gary Soto, Mary Oliver, and many more.

While reading through the poems, I discovered a poem by Lee Herrick that drew me in. I had not read Lee's work before. At his website you can find other poems from this wonderful poet.


by Lee Herrick

windshield to windshield
we are parked
like matadors,
pumping gas at the am pm.
It is a normal afternoon in the valley
like all afternoons in the valley,
split between modern duty
and the desire for something better.

We are in the same world.
I pull in and
face you, but
my sunglasses shield my almond
eyes, and what you don't realize
is that I see you
in your red anger,
your believed anonymity
your life boiling you to this ugly place,
where, in the pain of inarticulacy,
your vomit words,
like swords,
hurled at me:

god    damn     jap

I look down at my chest
my almond eyes open wide
breath sputtering
blood dripping.
I pull it from just beside my heart
and I still stand.

This is where racism begins
in the throat
at the station
in the heart of valley afternoons.

I hold your bloody words,
walking to you slowly
with sword in hand.

Read the rest here.

Stop and visit with Laura at Author Amok for roundup.

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful poem, Dori. Thanks for sharing it. I can imagine this book would provide the jumping off point for some intense classroom discussions.