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On September 5, 2014, NPR ran an essay by critic Juan Vidal titled, “Where Have All the Poets Gone?” which suggested that American poets no longer write political work. Because I find this assessment of contemporary American letters to be very incomplete, I wanted to take the opportunity to create a dialogue on the subject by curating a series of compelling political poems from contemporary American poets. I christened this series “Political Punch” as an affectionate reflection on the cocktail of poets who decided to honor me with their participation in my little Infoxicated Corner; it was intended to celebrate the glorious mix of poetics, voices, and life experiences all being shaken and stirred into a sense of community and conversation, being distilled into burning gulps of experience for the reader. Leaving aside all the boozed-up metaphors, it was also intended to celebrate my experience of American letters, in all their willingness and ability to pack a political punch. I’m very grateful and excited to begin by sharing this poem from the inimitable CA Conrad.

 

act like polka dot on
minnie mouse’s skirt

i am not a
family friendly
faggot i tell
your children
about war
about their tedious future careers
all the taxes bankrolling a
racist tyrannical military
i’m the faggot at
dinner asking to
be alone
with the
children
tell them their
future happiness
depends entirely
on how well they
cultivate rebellion against
any structure which
does not hold their
autonomy and
creative intelligence as a priority
CHILDREN your bliss is at stake
CHILDREN listen carefully for the
lies your parents tell you
CHILDREN prepare for joy in ways
none of them will ever imagine
prepare to live with no regrets

image

CAConrad’s PACE The Nation Project is touring the U.S. to ask poets how to repair our war-obsessed nation. He is the author of seven books including ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014), A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON (Wave Books, 2012) and The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010). A 2014 Lannan Fellow, a 2013 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2011 Pew Fellow, he also conducts workshops on (Soma)tic poetry and Ecopoetics.

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Fox Frazier-Foley is author of two prize-winning poetry collections, EXODUS IN X MINOR (Sundress Publications, 2014) and THE HYDROMANTIC HISTORIES (Bright Hill Press, 2015). She is currently editing an anthology of contemporary American political poetry, titled POLITICAL PUNCH (Sundress Publications, 2016) and an anthology of critical and lyrical writing about aesthetics, titled AMONG MARGINS (Ricochet Editions, 2016). Fox is Founding EIC of Agape Editions, and co-creator of the Tough Gal Tarot.

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