Friday, July 01, 2011

100 Thousand Poets

Dear Friends of Big Bridge,

I am writing to find out if you would be interested in organizing an event on September 24 for 100 Thousand Poets for Change in your community.

So far 100 Thousand Poets for Change has over 230 cities and 54 countries signed on to organize events, as part of a global initiative to celebrate/demonstrate poetry and address issues of peace and sustainability.

We have set up an event page on Facebook
and a blog/website for the event at

The website discusses the concept of the event in more detail on the ABOUT page, but the bottom line is that this is a global event, with the overall theme of peace and sustainability, in which each local community can address its specific concerns.

I am very excited by this project, there seems to be a groundswell. I live in the San Francisco area and originally hoped to have 1 big event but it has evolved into 11 events in the SF/Bay Area, with City Lights bookstore tweeting the event and posting flyers around the store, Oakland Slam poets will be putting on a SLAM FOR CHANGE, Word Party will organize an event of poetry and music, Free University of San Francisco will have a day of lectures by poets about poets and their art, The North Beach Annual Poetry and Art Walk located at The Beat Museum has dedicated their event to 100 Thousand Poets for Change, and there will be a 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading at the Oakland Public Library sponsored by PEN Oakland. Other groups have indicated their interest in fundraisers to help projects they care about. I like the idea that so many poets of so many styles and inclinations have seen their way through this initiative to join with each other.

Also, the website provides each individual event an EVENT LOCATION page, which is also a community page blog, that allows participants to post particular event details and also to post poems, photos, documentation to share with all the other participants around the world. Poets and writers around the world need to know each other better and these events pages will facilitate and initiate communication.
After September 24th, these event pages as a whole will become a major document of contemporary world poetry.

Not to go on too much—I would be honored to have you set up an event in your country, city, town, or neighborhood on September 24 for 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Please let me know if you are interested.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincere regards,
Michael Rothenberg
100 Thousand Poets for Change

ps. you can learn more about me at Big Bridge online magazine. I am the editor and publisher.

pss. Here is a very short list of some of the events that will be taking place:

In Vancouver, BC Fraser Riverkeeper will lead a TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup at False Creek East, near some of the dirtiest waters in Canada. Mary Woodbury of Moon Willow Press is working with community poets and artists to develop a poetry reading later that afternoon or evening.

In Philadelphia, there will be a PACE action, which is a wandering participatory reading through the streets.

In a Seattle, a 12 hour skype session, poets skypeing poems in from around the world.

In Kathmandu, Nepal there will be an all day school project which involves discussion of peace and sustainability, writing poems, a contest, and inclusion of the poems in a book to commemorate the event.

In Milwaukee poets who are active in the Labor Union demonstrations will give a reading.

In Guatemala, Mexico City, Lisbon, Portugal, Sydney, Australia, Austin, TX, Oakland, CA, Spokane, WA, Hilo, HI, Accra, Ghana and Athens, Greece there will be a Slam for Change!

Bancroft, Ontario, has the distinction of being known as, 'Ontario's Most Talented Town,' and this year is Bancroft's 150th anniversary so, on September 24th, they'll be celebrating their thriving arts community and a birthday with poetry, music, and, possibly, theatre. For change, their focus will be on creating more awareness about their natural environment.

In Mentone, AL for Sept 24. It will be an outdoors/picnic event with poets, speakers and music/singers/artwork. We will use the event to call attention to environmental issues and citizen action for change.

In Nigeria they will have a peace rally against gang violence with a poetry reading.

(The list goes on. And it is early yet so people are still formulating their programs).