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In Conversation: Poet/Musician Graffiti Bleu & Michael Rothenberg, cofounder of the global peace initiative, 100,000 Poets for Change


You can listen to the two-hour podcast HERE. Recommended! This post is meant as an alert and also to share my two cents.

As I write, it’s just a few hours after listening to Just My Thoughts with Graffiti Bleu on BlogTalk Radio. The show started with an exploration of What does the revolution look like? with Graffiti Blue, Michael Rothenberg, and the show’s panel and callers comprised of poets involved in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC).

Harkening back to Gil Scott-Heron and his poem, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,  part of the discussion was on technology and social networking and their roles in fostering peace, social justice and sustainability. When Heron wrote his poem in 1971, the means to formulate and distribute information and opinion were dominated by mainstream media and corporate interest, which were not in sympathy with the revolution Heron envisioned. Those interests are still dominant and still lack sympathy, but there’s something of a balance occurring – however imperfect – now that we plain folk have access to the tools of technology and social networking. Without social networking, we wouldn’t have 100TPC, which can happily be said to have gone viral since Michael Rothenberg put out a call on Facebook for poets to join in a global peace effort back in 2010. While each of us in the “100,000” has a relatively small “audience” together we touch many, many minds and hearts. We do have an agenda, but it doesn’t foment strife. We’re not in anyone’s pocket. That’s clean power. It’s power to …

On a personal level, one benefit of technology is that people who are homebound – as I sometimes am – can take part in change-making initiatives more actively than simply writing letters-to-the-editor or to our legislators, which is not to say we should give that up. I started a virtual 100TPC via The BeZine and with The Bardo Group Beguines so that disabled people and people who do not live near a 100TPC event would have the opportunity to have their say, to lend their support. Our 2015 commemorative page is HERE.

We need to do more than “talk.”  Agreed. And I think that one of things 100TPC gives us is hope … huge hope from seeing that there are people in every nook-and-cranny of the world who share our values and priorities. This helps us to keep on keeping on with our local grassroots initiatives as well as our broader advocacy. This serves to sustain our faith and commitment.

Ultimately for me, 100TPC is about breaking down barriers, crossing boarders. It leads the way in our evolutionary journey toward a sustainable peace. In the documentary film Ten Questions for the Dalai Lamathe Dalai Lama says “we need more festivals.”  In other words, if we get to know people, if we break bread with them or share a bowl of rice, we are less likely to think of them as “other.”  It will be more difficult to turn around the next day and do harm.  100TPC is our festival. Once we’ve shared hearts, souls and stories through poetry, how can we marginalize anyone? How can we abandon or abuse?

Can the revolution be bloodless? The question is really “will it be?” I don’t think so. I don’t think revolutions are by their very nature “bloodless.” The psychopaths will always be with us and until we stop marginalizing people and leaving them desperate and vulnerable to tyrants, we’ll never have bloodless reform. We’ll never achieve a sustainable peace. Peace is a state that takes awareness and awareness takes growth, which is an evolutionary process.  That doesn’t mean we should give up. It means that as poets we should continue to bear witness, to touch hearts, to raise consciousness and to nurture the process of growth. As poet Michael Dickel said in an interview on this site HERE: “. . . it may not be ours to see the work completed, but that does not free us from the responsibility to do the work.”

© 2016, words, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photograph courtesy of Graffiti Bleu and Michael Rothenberg.

The BeZine, 15 Oct. 2015, First Anniversary Edition (Visual Arts), Table of Contents with Links

15 October 2015

Time does indeed fly and – almost unbelievably –  here we are publishing our first anniversary edition.  It’s been a lot of fun collaborating, batting around ideas, connecting with new contributors and producing a rather remarkable body of work over the course of the last twelve months.

Safe to say we are all grateful to be able to make a contribution – modest as it may be – to peace and understanding.  We are grateful too for the readers who make this work worthwhile. We’re especially grateful to those readers who participated in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) this year.  Thank you! More on that soon.  Meanwhile … for our anniversary issue, the theme is Visual Arts: Shape, Color, Movement and Meaning …

00da8d_12fd11dad3344c89888ab297ac2fd005.jpg_srb_p_826_551_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbThe American graphic designer, Milton Glaser, has said that art is “terribly important” as a survival mechanism, as a means of cultural survival. Good art, he says, “makes us attentive.”  It inspires us to re-engage with what we think something or some circumstance is and see it for what it truly is. It seems our poets have decided to comment on art by using it as inspiration for poetry. Not surprising that. In the light of Glaser’s words, I think this “appropriation” of art for poetry helps to make an even stronger statement of culture and values and moves us closer to the truing of our vision.  “Why ask art into life at all,” asks poet Jane Hirschfeld, “if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means?”

And so this month we present diverse works of art largely commented upon in poem – ekphrastic or otherwise – or used as a jumping off point and moved into new directions. In some cases the art is the poet’s own photographs or digital art.

New to our pages this month is professional photographer Donatella D’Angello with a set of poems in both Italian and English (translations in collaboration with Michael Dickel) as well as with her photographs, which inspired the poet in Michael.  Our wonderful cover photo (the header) is courtesy of Donatella.  You can enjoy more of her work HERE. Michael tells me “the photos are as shot in the camera. She borrows techniques the Futurists used for motion-studies of long exposures (and subdued lighting, often) and moves into and within the frame (or has her subjects move, but I used all self-portraits in the post).”

Italy stars in three pieces. Two are by Michael Watson who shares photographs and meditations from a trip to Italy. The third is a piece by Michael Dickel on his trip to Salerno this past June for the 100TPC summit.

We are also pleased to introduce Professor Aprilia Zank.  Aprilia is a photographer, poet and literature professor who coordinated the National Beat Festival in Munich this year. We hope to share more of her work here in the future.

We start with the graphics produced around the world to promote 100TPC and move on to Priscilla Galasso’s “Art, Time and Love,” which is as thoughtful and characteristically provocative as her work always is.  You’ll find two of Naomi Baltuck’s wonderful photo-stories, artwork by Corina Ravenscraft, and a flash fiction piece by Liliana Negoi … All alongside the aforementioned wealth of poems. Enjoy … Let us know what you think.

On behalf of The Bardo Group and Beguine Again and in the spirit of peace and community,

Jamie Dedes



Design Art: 100TPC Posters

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Posters are followed by some photographs of Mimes for Change in Egypt and then Michael Rothenberg’s flag to welcome refugees. (These are not the same posters that we displayed in a slideshow on the blog.)

Lead Features

Art, Time and Love, Priscilla Galasso
~ A Dragon’s Day ~, Corina Ravenscraft
An Autumn Photo from Spring, Michael Dickel
Salerno Like a Painting, Michael Dickel
Regretting Its Death by Drowning, Jamie Dedes


bonds, Liliana Negoi


Parallel Worlds, John Anstie
Decline, John Anstie
Battle Horse, John Anstie
Three Poems (Italian and English), Donatella D’Angello (translations with Michael Dickel)
her power leaps, Jamie Dedes
Cassandra, Jamie Dedes
A dream walker hands you the door, Michael Dickel
White Angel Feathers, Michael Dickel (with photographs by Donatella D’Angello
Framed, Joseph Hesch
Fields of Lavender, Joseph Hesch
a beautiful enigma, Charles W. Martin
war’s cold night, Charles W. Martin
Not That I Really Know, Charles W. Martin



the land remembers, Michael Watson
Cinque Terra, Michael Watson


Two Subjects (and one important thing to remember), Naomi Baltuck
Turning Night into Day, Naomi Baltuck

Special Feature

Imagine the Beats (Readings, Photography, Music), Munich, German, Aprilia Zank




Back Issues Archive
October/November 2014, First Issue
December 2014, Preparation
January 2015, The Divine Feminine
February 2015, Abundance/Lack of Abundance
March 2015, Renewal
April 2015, interNational Poetry Month
May 2015, Storytelling
June 2015, Diversity
July 2015, Imagination and the Critical Spirit
August 2015, Music
September 2015, Poverty (100TPC)
100,000 Poets for Change, 2015 Event

We have a goal . . .

Behind the scenes at The BeZine we’re working to pull together the wealth of insight and artistry shared for 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change into a commemorative page, the content of which will also be archived at Stanford University, Stanford, California. Thank you to all who contributed, read, commented, shared links and supported this worthwhile effort at The BeZine blog as a virtual event or in one of some 500 cities around the world.

While the big event is over for this year, the goals are ongoing as this video indicates. The work for Peace, Sustainability and Social Justice is a never-ending journey. So the question each one of us asks ourselves is what next? What action can I take? What small part of the big project can I take on? It is, after all, up to each of us to “be the change.”

The Mission …

Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation<br/>Moshe Dekel (age 5)
Hand of Fire, Hand of Creation by Moshe Dekel (age 5)

Reblogged from: The BeZine blog, 26 September 2015.  This is our mission for our 100TPC event, which is still open to submission from you. Much appreciation to Michael Dickel for this and for MCing the day …

Welcome to the 5th year of 100,000 Poets (Musicians, Artists, Mimes…) for Change, and the 2015 edition of The BeZine Online 100TPC Event! If you’ve done this before and you know the score, skip to the comments or Mister Linky at the bottom of the post and begin. If you are wondering, hey, what are you folks up to then check out some serious non-fiction here:

Our mission here today as poets, writers, artists, photographers, musicians and friends is a sort-of fission for change—a burning with and expression of the desire for peace, environmental and economic sustainability, social justice, inclusion, equity and opportunity for all. We seek through our art to do a bit of old-fashioned consciousness raising, to stimulate thought and action leading to the kind of change that is sustainable, compassionate and just, and to engage in the important theme of the issues facing humanity today—but all with a goal to alleviate suffering and foster peace. We don’t want to just “talk about it,” we want words, art and music that help us take action in some way for positive change wherever we are in our lives, in our world.

We see a complex inter-woven relationship between peace, sustainability, and social justice. We all recognize that when people are marginalized and disenfranchised, when they are effectively barred from opportunities for education and viable employment, when they can’t feed themselves or their families or are used as slave labor, there will inevitably be a backlash, and we’re seeing that now in violent conflicts, wars and dislocation. Climatologists have also linked climate change, with its severe weather changes and recent droughts, to the rise violence in the world, and even contributing to inequities in areas – like Syria – where a severe drought destabilized food production and the economy, contributing to the unrest that led to the civil war, according to one study.

Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulged much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civial war and ISIS conflict
Jerusalem in an unprecedented dust storm that engulfed much of the Mideast, linked by one climate scientist to the Syrian civil war and ISIS conflict

There are too many people living on the streets and in refugee camps, too many whose lives are at subsistence level, too many children who die before the age of five (as many as four a minute dying from hunger, according to one reliable study—more info), too many youth walking through life with no education, no jobs and no hope. It can’t end well…

Syrian refugee camp, photo: The Telegraph
Syrian refugee camp
photo: The Telegraph

More than anything, our mission is a call to action, a call to work in your own communities where ever you are in the world, and to focus on the pressing local issues that contribute to conflict, injustice, and unsustainable economic and environmental practices. The kind of change we need may well have to be from the ground up, all of us working together to create peaceful, sustainable and just cultures that nurture the best in all the peoples of this world.

Poverty and homelessness are evergreen issues historically, but issues also embedded in social and political complexity. They benefit the rich, whose economic system keeps most of the rest of us as, at best, “wage slaves,” and all too many of us in poverty, without enough to provide for basic needs or housing (including the “working poor,” who hold low-paying jobs while CEOs are paid record-breaking salaries and bonuses in the global capitalist system). We are united in our cries against the structures of injustice, where the rich act as demigods and demagogues. We have to ask of what use will all their riches be in the face of this inconceivable suffering and the inevitable backlash from the marginalized and disenfranchised. We need fairness, not greed.

So, with this mission in mind, and with the complexity of the interrelationships of social justice, sustainability and peace as a framework, we focus on hunger and poverty, two basic issues and major threads in the system of inequality and injustice that need addressing throughout the world.

We look forward to what you have to share, whether the form is poetry, essay, fiction, art, photography, documentary, music, or hybrids of any of these—and we want to engage in an ongoing conversation through your comments on all of the above as you not only share your own work here today but visit and enjoy the work of others, supporting one another with your “likes” and comments, starting or entering into dialogues with writers, artists and musicians throughout the world and online viewers, readers, listeners.

Think globally, act locally, form community.

—Michael Dickel, Jerusalem (with G. Jamie Dedes, California, USA)


Share links to your relevant work or that of others in a comment The BeZine blog post HERE or by using Mister Linky below. To use Mister Linky, just click on the graphic. (Note: If you are sharing someone else’s work, please use your name in Mister Linky, so we can credit you as the contributor—we will give the author / artist name in the comments, from the link when we post the link in a comment.)

You may leave your links or works in the comment section of The BeZine post HERE. If you are sharing the work of another poet or artist, however, please only use a link and not the work itself.

In addition to sharing, we encourage you to visit others and make connections and conversation. To visit the links, click on Mister Linky (the Mister Linky graphic above) and then on the links you see there. (Some Mister Linky-links can be viewed in the comments section after we re-post them.)

28 September 2015 note: In addition to what you’ll find through Mister Linky, you’ll see that there are many many pieces in the comments section or links to them.  We haven’t tallied everything yet, but we think we’re approaching 75 or 80 works.  J.D.

Thank you! 

All links will be collected into a dedicated Page here at The BeZine and also archived at 100TPC.

Thank you for your participation. Let the conversation begin …