[saymaListserv] Fw: Voices in Wartime Newsletter 4-5-2005

Julia Ewen jewen at bellsouth.net
Tue Apr 5 22:30:18 JEST 2005

Voices in Wartime NewsletterThis group was originally called Poets Against The War, with which I have been involved, and I have some poems which have been published on their website. This film is worth seeing when it comes to a theater near you.  Julia Parker Ewen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: info at voicesinwartime.org 
To: jewen at micronetsystems.net 
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 5:53 PM
Subject: Voices in Wartime Newsletter 4-5-2005

      Poem of the Week
            I am a warrior for peace.
            And not a gentle man.

            Steve Mason 

            I have looked death in the eye
            and spat blood
            I have faced life squarely
            and made love
            I am a combat veteran 
            of Vietnam
            And not altogether certain
            of my direction,
            But sure of myself-
            A delegate en route
            to a national convention
            And proud to count for more
            than my pain;

            At 30,000 feet there are 
            no flat clouds
            Which point to the nation's
            No calendars to enumerate
            a just-right world
            of sequential firmness
            on-going below, 
            My unresolved hurt
            makes it difficult
            to look out this small
            round window
            And know beyond reason
            what time & place
            my mind suspends
            outboard this aircraft--
            I look to see
            a mirrored on-board image
            of myself
            & question with a hard blink
            & a sharp eye,
            Where are my epaulettes?
            Who took the hash marks
            from my sleeve?
            Damn--it's been a long time
            between rides
            A long time since I looked out
            another aircraft window
            & watched real life
            Refracted across
            the lawns of the world--
            Sat helpless as the thick,
            plastic window
            distorted the courage
            of my innocence
            So that I might
            distinguish capitalist jungles
            from communist jungles
            at a distance of 6 miles
            straight up...


      A former Army captain and decorated Vietnam combat veteran, Steve Mason is Poet Laureate of the Vietnam Veterans of America. His poem, "The Wall Within," was delivered as part of the official activities prior to the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("The Wall") as a national monument in November 1984. It was entered into the Congressional Record, January 10, 1984. Steve was diagnosed with terminal cancer in April 2004.

      Read the rest of the poem by Steve Mason.

      (Share this poem by forwarding this e-mail to a friend.)


      Excerpt from an essay by Christopher Sawyer-Lauanno
      This article is a review of Voices in Wartime: The Movie. 

      Voices in Wartime is a startling, gripping film that chronicles the writings of poets about war.  Interspersed with the contemporary footage of poets-famous and unknown-reading their work are often grisly and horrifying segments depicting the actual face of war: Civil War soldiers face down in the mud; infantrymen dying in the trenches in World War I, the bombings of cities during World War II, bloodied soldiers and civilians (many of them children) in Vietnam, and, of course, the mayhem in Iraq.  There are also poignant scenes of "forgotten" wars such as those in Biafra and Colombia, where civilians were mainly the casualties of power politics.

      Voices in Wartime reveals how for millennia poets have taken a stand, how war has always compelled poets to speak out, to chronicle the horror with words.  The haunting verse of poets long gone, such as Homer, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman and Shoda Shinoe from Hiroshima are combined with more recent voices: South Boston native David Connolly, a Vietnam vet; Sinan Antoon and other poets in war-torn Baghdad; and Nigerian poet Chris Abani, a poet whose family experienced the devastating war in Biafra.  

      Soldiers, journalists, historians and experts on combat are also interviewed in Voices in Wartime.  All of these, including Lieutenant General William James Lennox, Jr., Superintendent of West Point, add diverse perspectives on war's effects on soldiers, civilians and society. 

      Among the more famous poets featured are Sam Hamill, Marie Howe, Marilyn Nelson, Emily Warn, Rachel Bentham, Terry Tempest Williams and Todd Swift.  But the unknowns are also quite remarkable.  Nine-year-old Alexandra Sanyal from Boston recites a moving poem she wrote that combines images of snow and war.  Sampurna Chattarji, a poet from India, reads a stunning and stirring poem "Easy," that ends with these words: "Death is easy to pronounce / it's the smell of burning children / that's hard to pronounce." 

      [The film's] focus on poetry seems natural, for poets have always been in the forefront as witnesses to the immense human catastrophe that is war.  

      Or as British poet Wilfred Owen, killed in World War I, put it: "Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn. That is why true Poets must be truthful." 

      Read the complete essay by Christopher Sawyer-Lauanno.

      Christopher Sawyer-Lauanno is Writer-in-Residence at MIT.  His many books include a recently released biography of e.e. cummings, one of the 20th century's greatest anti-war poets.

      (Help spread the word by forwarding this e-mail to a friend.)

        Please forward this e-mail
      to a friend.


      See Voices in Wartime on the big screen!
      The movie opens April 8
      in New York City 
      at the Landmark Sunshine 
      and the New Metro Twin.

      More dates and theaters >>>


      Host a Dialogue 
      to help educate millions of Americans about PTSD and the trauma caused by war.

      What are these events for?

      All of us can agree on the need to care for and support returning combat veterans and civilian victims of war, no matter how we feel about the government policy that launched the war. 

      These events are a way to reach out across the political spectrum and create a new kind of discussion- about our responsibility to heal the trauma caused by war for both soldiers and civilians, and to prevent future wars. 

      Sign up to be a host >>>>


      Sign up to get this weekly e-mail from the makers of the film 
      Voices in Wartime.

      A weekly newsletter of art, essays, and ideas for healing the trauma of war, plus news about Voices in Wartime, scheduled for release in selected theaters in April 2005.

      Sign up now >>>>>


      From a four-star review at Entertainment Insiders
      "The film focuses smartly on the nature of poetry and war. And this is important because awareness is raised uniquely by Voices in Wartime leaving interpretation ultimately to the viewer."

      -Jonathan Hickman 
      Capturing the War Poetic


      Ideas of the Week
      How you can help

      Help rebuild lives shattered by war. Make a donation to the American Refugee Committee. More than 90 cents of every dollar donated goes to helping refugees and displaced people by providing food, shelter, water, sanitary facilities and medical care. 

      For more information, visit the America Refugee Committee at http://www.archq.org. 


      Top Tip/How to Use Our Website

      Do you have a question you would like to share with others? Post a question or a topic of discussion in the Forum page of our Voices in Wartime site. You'll find the Forums link at the top navigation bar. 

      Home . About the Movie . Filmmakers . Library . Get Involved 
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