“It is difficult / to get the news from poems /yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” – William Carlos Williams
If you are at all like me, you’ve spent these past few weeks trying (and failing) to keep up with news and current events (or maybe trying to ignore them). Story after story floods our inboxes or our feeds and pretty soon we’re overwhelmed by contrary opinions and disturbing images. In this context, it might be difficult to see any point in stopping to read a poem or putting any stock in the truthfulness of the written word.
But amidst a culture in which the meaning of words is under attack, in which lies are termed “alternative facts,” I still believe in the transformative power of language. Which means I believe in poetry, and in fiction, and in the connection between people that can occur when we write carefully and read attentively. In this politically charged environment, I feel that it is more important than ever to slow down and pay attention to words and how they affect us. Furthermore, funding for the Arts and Humanities is under threat as the NEA and NEH face drastic cuts by the new administration, so financial support for artists and writers is more crucial than ever.
With these thoughts in mind, I was inspired to participate in a unique project. During the month of February, I’m inviting you to join me in a fundraiser supporting an important literary publisher, Tupelo Press. Each day in February, I will write a new poem alongside several other poets and Tupelo will post our pieces on their website as part of their ongoing “30/30” project. Click here to see today’s poems.
Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, for seventeen years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.
There are so many ways you can support the press. A subscription to fabulous books of poetry, sent to your home. A one-time donation at any level. I hope you consider supporting me, and supporting this amazing press I am representing this month. I have sent myself a goal of raising $350 for Tupelo this month, and any amount you are able to contribute would be greatly appreciated. To donate on my behalf, please click on the link to my fundraising page.
You can check Tupelo’s site daily to see my new work, or you can subscribe to my personal blog, www.jenniferstewartfueston.com where I will post a link to each day’s poem.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. I hope that taking the time to slow down and ponder language can help us all to become more attentive citizens and enrich our imaginative empathy for one another.