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I’m With the Banned—Celebrating, and Exercising, Our Freedom to Read and Write


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The list of banned poets reads like the Who’s Who of Poetry: Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Federico García Lorca, Gwendolyn Brooks, Luis Valdes, Charles Baudelaire, and, yes, even Shel Silverstein.

In this four-week generative workshop, we’ll read them all, as well as Anna Akhmatova, who wrote underground to expose Stalin’s brutality and Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian national poet who was forced to live in exile and is still censored.

In their Freedom to Read Statement The American Library Association says: 

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack ... The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials. 

During our four weeks together, we will not curtail our expression. We’ll exercise our right to write, creating poems that honor the giants on whose shoulders we stand: men and women who refused to be silenced. 

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Earlier Event: September 8
Second Draft Sundays
Later Event: October 13
Second Draft Sundays