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10 Ways Poetry Can Help Stop the War


1. Include poetry in your action. Whether you’re hosting a vigil, planning a rally, or marching through the streets, poetry read aloud or on placards can really make a point.

2. Sponsor a poetry contest on the theme of war and peace. Establish different age categories, ask local businesses to donate prizes, and invite the winners to read them aloud at a public gathering. Afterwards ask attendees to sign a letter to their representatives and the President calling for an end to the wars.

3. Host a poetry workshop on September 11th or October 6th (the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.) Create prompts from the poems included in this document. For example, you could ask attendees to write a poem including the first line of one of the peace poems or to read a peace poem aloud in pairs and circle the words they find most important only to write their own poems using those words. Be creative. Later, ask participants to read their poems aloud or invite them to be included for public display.

4. Write a poem about the war as a letter to your editor. Keep it short. If it doesn’t get published, make photocopies and hang them around town.

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5. Use a poem as a basis for making a video in your community. Take a peace poem and film different community members each saying a line. Put the end result online to share.

6. Invite a poet to speak in your community. Ask him or her to read poems related to peace and war. Afterwards ask participants to write a letter sharing their reactions. The letter can be to a representative, a local newspaper, a friend, or a family member.

7. Sponsor a Poems for Troops event in your community. Ask community members to donate poems—either their own or their favorites—which can be included in packages to be sent overseas.

8. Tie yellow ribbons around every oak tree in your community. Affix a peace poem to each one. Try to include them as part of an art walk or other event where people are likely to be outside walking around.

9. At local music or cultural events hand out flyers with a peace poem printed on them. Have a table where people can learn to fold them into origami cranes instead of throwing them away after they’ve read them. Use the cranes at your other peace events.

10. Ask your local library to create an exhibit on peace and war poems and literature for the month of September. If they’re willing, organize an event based around those themes.