June 3, 2019

POSTED BY

Jose Fresan

CATEGORY

America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance & Resilience

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Last week the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church was the stage for a celebration of Sixteen River Press’ new anthology book: America, We Call Your Name. This new collection of poems is a direct response to the 2016 election, since as stated by Camille T. Dungy “it opened our …


Last week the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church was the stage for a celebration of Sixteen River Press’ new anthology book: America, We Call Your Name.

This new collection of poems is a direct response to the 2016 election, since as stated by Camille T. Dungy “it opened our eyes to some things in America that we knew were there but chose not to see”. The 126 poems in this book are an ode to America, they question, praise and mourn it, sometimes with hope, sometimes with anger. America, We Call Your Name is an invitation to think about America in a new way, to analyze its history and to take action for its future.

From Virgil and Dante to Claudia Rankine and Mai Der Vang, from Milton to Merwin, from Po Chü-i to Robin Coste Lewis, America, We Call Your Name gathers old and new poems in a new and unique way to convey the importance of our democracy and the alarming threats that it has been facing this past few years.

This book can change the reader’s view of America and as Camille T. Dungy warns “Read carefully. What you learn here might just save your life.”

You can get the book here.

And this it the poem that inspired the name for this anthology. It is Dean Rader response to Neruda’s same-named poem.

America, I Do Not Call Your Name Without Hope
After Neruda

America, I do not call your name without hope
not even when you lay your knife
against my throat or lace my hands
behind my back, the cuffs connecting
us like two outlaws trying to escape
history’s white horse, its heavy whip
a pistolshot in the ear. Lost land,
this is a song for the scars on your back,
for your blistered feet and beautiful
watch, it is for your windmills, your
leavened machines, for your fists. It
is for your wagon of blood, for your dogs
and their teeth of fire, for your sons
and the smoke in their hearts. This is for
your verbs, your long lurk, your whir.
This is for you and your fear, your tar,
for the white heat in your skin and
for your blue bones that one day may sing.
This is for your singing. This is for the past,
but not for what’s passed. This is for daybreak
and backbreak, for dreams and for darkness.

“America, I Do Not Call Your Name without Hope” is from “Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry” (c) 2017 by Dean Rader. The poem appears with the permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.