Today I was working on a program description for a poetry reading I'm organizing for Women's month and that got me over to the site for the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in DC, March 20-23 at a variety of venues in the U Street Neighborhood and at George Washington University in Foggy Bottom. The grand finale will feature a march to, and reading in front of, the White House.
Just think, four days of readings--and we're talking about folks like Robert Bly, Grace Cavalieri, Lucille Clifton, Mark Doty, Martín Espada, Carolyn Forché, Galway Kinnell, Ethelbert Miller, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Alicia Ostriker, and Sonia Sanchez, among the folks I've already read and heard read their work. I'm looking forward to discovering others to admire on the list of featured readers.
Besides the readings, there will be workshops, panels, film, walking tours, activism. The whole shebang is only $75, if you register before March 10. If you procrastinate and miss that deadline, you only need toss in an additional sawbuck.
The goals of the festival are two:
- To celebrate the poetry of witness and provocation being written, published, and performed in the United States today; and
- To call poets to a greater role in public life and to equip them with the tools they need to be effective advocates in their communities and in the nation.
Poets have long played a central role in movements for social change. Today, at a critical juncture in our country’s history, poetry that gives voice to the voiceless, names the unnamable, and speaks directly from the individual and collective conscience is more important than ever. The festival will explore and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change: reaching across differences, considering personal and social responsibility, asserting the centrality of the right to free speech, bearing witness to the diversity and complexity of human experience through language, imagining a better world.
As we head into the fifth year of war in Iraq, our country faces a crisis of imagination. Most Americans agree that we need dramatic change: to end the war, reorder our national priorities to meet human needs, save our planet. How we address these challenges is a question not just for policy makers and strategists. It is a question for all of us. We believe that poets have a unique role to play in social movements as innovators, visionaries, truth tellers, and restorers of language.
Check out "Statement by Robert Greenstein: Reported Stimulus Package Would Provide Little Immediate Boost Due to Removal of Most Effective Provisions, 1/24/08" from th eCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities -
...the two most targeted and economically effective measures under consideration -- a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and a temporary boost in food stamp benefits -- were zeroed out, apparently at the insistence of House Republican leaders.... [Moody's] Economy.com found that for each dollar spent on extended UI benefits, $1.64 in increased economic activity would be generated. For each dollar in increased food stamp benefits, $1.73 .....Greenstein supports his judgment with evidence. Citing CBO, Moody’s, Nobel laureate Stiglitz and now-CBO director Orszagin (I've put up the links at Newstrust), he argues Congress elevated "ideology over sound economic reasoning," deleting temporary unemployment insurance and food stamps increases, after Republican leaders argued " inclusion…would derail the package."
A lot to consider here, such as how business tax cuts "would cause states to lose at least $4 billion in state revenue, due to linkages between federal and state tax codes.” With no offsets, “many states will have to enact deeper and more painful budget cuts, likely hitting areas from health care and education to aid to local governments [which will]…act as a drag on the economy. " He suggests that since "the working poor…will spend — rather than save — the largest share of their rebate dollars, the optimal design would be one under which working-poor families do not receive smaller rebates than people at higher income levels do." His conclusion: "In the bipartisan negotiations over the stimulus package, an appropriate trade would have been to include the sizable (but not especially effective) business tax cuts in return for a rebate that extended to the working poor, but not to drop the unemployment insurance and food stamp provisions. It is unfortunate that those two provisions — the most targeted and effective measures under consideration — were removed, and that states facing deficits will be driven deeper into deficit and thus have to cut services or raise taxes more, rather than being provided some fiscal relief."
Other reading from today:
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