Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
I just wanted to take a break from writing to celebrate one of the amazing resources I have stumbled upon in the last few months… The Poetry Foundation, which some of you may already be familiar with, is a non-profit organization dedicated to culling the world’s best poetry, and sharing it with the largest possible audiences. In the same vein as the Montreal International Poetry Prize, this Foundation seeks out poetry in all corners, and celebrates the work in a variety of genres; audio poems, visual artistry, interviews, essays, video ~experienced poets reading newbies work, newbies reading experienced poets~ they look at poetry from all angles, and for those of us that like to over-indulge, it’s a veritable feast.
Happily, they also excel at range; my favourite toy has become the Poetry Foundation iPhone App, which lets me spin (roulette wheel style) through a variety of moods and themes, and brings up a different selection of poems and poets each day. It’s actually been a huge buoy for my writing. Like the Montreal Prize (which published a selected http://montrealprize.com/anthologies/longlist-anthology/, over the course of a month) this habit has become infections; I read the poems, reread the poems, mull them over, consider structure, narrative, tone.. invariably sitting down at the computer to dabble in my own ideas far more often than I would, if left to my own devices. The moral? Celebrate other people’s work. It makes you better.
While we’re here, I’d also like to celebrate the work of another global organization, called Avaaz.org, “meaning “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.” This organization is impressive for a lot of reasons, namely because they poll participants in order to built a priority list each year, and build action-movement agendas accordingly. “The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers — signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing ‘offline’ protests and events — to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform the decisions that affect us all.” In an age of media and corporate bullying, this organization feels good and strong and free.
Currently, they are working to protect Jasper National Park from the Harper governments attempts to sell off sections of this Crown-protected land to an American owned company, in order to have it developed. Needless to say, this sets a scary precedent for all of Canada’s incredible wilderness, and they are doing an admirable job of galvanizing citizens into action. Luckily, Greg Fenton, Superintendent of Jasper National Park, is doing what he can to push back against corporate (and governmental) pressure, and Avaaz.org is supporting him through an online petition. So far, 156,977 Canadians have signed on, and they are looking for a nice round number of 200,000. If you would like to support this cause, take a minute to read and sign.
Thanks for listening,