Sunday, December 26, 2004
PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension) Reminds Last-Minute Shoppers of the Realities of War
Philadelphia, PA December 26, 2004
A loose-knit organization of experimental poets gave guerilla readings in Philadelphia’s shopping districts on Christmas Eve morning. CA Conrad, Linh Dinh, Mytili Jagannathan & Frank Sherlock recited their work while handing out holiday cards & anti-war poems outside the Gallery, Liberty Place & Rittenhouse Square. The holiday PACE action was designed to urge shoppers to take the Iraq war discussion home to their Christmas dinner tables. Sherlock, who also curates a Philadelphia reading series, explains. "The Najaf occupation doesn’t take a holiday, & there’s no Christmas vacation for Americans serving in Mosul. We need to keep those suffering overseas in our thoughts."
Each of the poets have been politically active with local organizations. Conrad has worked with the Global Women’s Strike, while Jagannathan spent years working with the Asian Arts Initiative. Sherlock has produced benefit poetry readings for the Philadelphia Independent Media Center & R2K Legal. Linh Dinh returned to Philadelphia earlier this year from Italy where he was living as a guest of the Paris-based International Parliament of Writers. He was greatly concerned with the tone of political discourse upon his return. "I knew some people might confuse us for Jesus freaks and other types of raving maniacs, but the reading was at least a symbolic protest against the bizarre business-as-usual solipsism pervading a country that's killing and torturing on a daily basis."
PACE (Italian for “peace”) is planning further poetry actions in the coming year to take their work & their message beyond the libraries, galleries & bookstores. The Christmas Eve street readings launched the organization’s Poems to Philadelphia Project for 2005.
For photos of the event, or samples of the holiday cards, fliers & broadsides, contact: