SUNNYSIDE UP: From the Edge of Eternity, Meditations on “The BeZine”

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river …

i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings . . .

i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~
you’ll see me sliding happily down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.

– Jamie Dedes



I was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease twenty-one years ago. I was given two years to live. Thanks to loving family support and excellent state-of-the-art medical care, I’m still alive and kicking. As the disease continues its progression, however, my activities have become increasing constrained. Over the past two years I’ve slowed down dramatically. I am holding the Zine back from fulfilling its wide promise. I find it hard to keep up with obligations and to honor my own ambitions and the prodigious talents and boundless ideas of my colleagues. The long-standing lung issues have evolved into respiratory and heart failure. Other challenges to productivity have popped their disconcerting heads. These include pulmonary hypertension and a rare blood cancer, uncurable but manageable. There is, however, good news.

I’ve had years none of us expected I’d have, years to enjoy my family, my friends, lots of music, reading and writing. I got to see my world-class son married. I’ve been able to spend time getting to know my beautiful multi-talented daughter-in-law and to visit with my cousin Dan when he came home to the States after years of living abroad. Daniel (now Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp) and I grew up together. He is more like a brother to me than a cousin. Ultimately, I had the pleasure of forming an arts for peace community.

I began blogging in 2008 (The Poet by Day) and in 2011 I founded Into the Bardo with San Francisco Bay Area Poet Ann Emerson and Rob Rossel, a therapist and nature writer. Ann had a rare bone cancer and Rob faced cardiovascular problems. Our intention was to chronical living with dying. My friends preceded me into the bardo after just three years. I had to ponder what to do next.



The Original Zine Team Partners

This post is dedicated to them.

Ann Emerson, San Francisco Bay Area Poet
Therapist and Nature Writer, Rob Rossell


I decided to broaden the scope of the blog, to create a platform for the global expression of peaceable minds, diverse perspectives and cultural understanding. This was a conscious effort to create a virtual space where we could find the commonalities across borders and learn that our differences are so often benign, not threatening. I found talented high-minded folks and a team slowly emerged. We grew from three members to twelve and a subscription base of a few hundred to one that is over 20,000.

We expanded our outreach joining with Washington State Methodist Minister, the Rev. Terri Stewart, and Beguine Again, our sister site. We became a larger presence via Twitter (thanks to Terri Stewart), a Facebook Page (The Bardo Group Bequines), and two Facebook Groups: The BeZine 100TPC (that is, 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change) and The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page. The idea behind the former is to share good news, the “best practices” that are happening all over the world and can be inspiration for initiatives in other areas. The idea behind the arts and humanities page is to give people a place to share the wide range of arts we all engage with or practice and to underscore the fact that “The BeZine” is not just or even primarily a poetry site. We welcome and encourage all types of creative expression.

I have led this effort since 2011 as manager, editor, and recruiter, but it is now time for me to bequeath this grace-filled platform into the hands of the rest of The Zine Team. Some of the support we get from team-members is quiet. You may not be aware of these stalwart and mostly behind-the-scene visionaries. Hence here is a list of the Zine team members.

John Anstie
Naomi Baltuck
Anjum Wasim Dar
Michael Dickel (Now Managing Editor, 100TPC Master of Ceremonies)
Priscilla Gallaso (has moved on but not until after making significant contributions)
Ruth Jewel
Chrysty Darby Hendrick
Joseph Hesch
Charles W. Martin
Lana Phillips
Corina Ravenscraft
Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk, Zine Canoness, Beguine Again founder)
Kella Hanna Wayne
Michael Watson

WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MY NEXT SUGGESTED BIG EFFORT?: The BeZine Educational Blog-Radio Shows:

  • Team-member Naomi Baltuck is our resident storyteller and also works for LBGTQ understanding and rights. She’d be the perfect person to do a show and introduce other storytellers to our audience and perhaps provide guidance and encouragement for those whose ambitions include this art.
  • Team-member and the Zine’s Canoness, the Rev. Terri Stewart, initiated and runs a program for incarcerated youth. She could bring more information to us on these children and perhaps encourage the start-up of other efforts elsewhere in the U.S. and wherever in the world youth incarceration needs addressing.
  • Team-member John Anstie is a singer and poet. Music is important to him. He works with the Sheffield Music Hub as a volunteer. He’s a bass singer in Fox Valley Voices and Hallmark of Harmony. If he was amenable to the idea, I’d like to see him bring together a small panel of musicians and composers to discuss the place of music in our lives.
  • Corina Ravenscraft works in several areas that engage, but animal rights is certainly of key importance as is art as avocation. If willing, she’d do beautifully with a couple such shows. (By the way, Corina’s running the Zine banner art contest this year. Check it out. Info HERE. Cash awards.)
  • Michael Dickel, a poet, writer, artist and educator teaches English and poetry. I’d love to see him do a show on poetry writing, especially one providing youth guidance.
  • There are so many people for whom English is not a first language but who love writing in English. Anjum Wasim Dar is the perfect person to interview and discuss the rewards and challenges of such should she choose to do so. Many of the Zine’s contributing writers have this in common with her.
  • Who better than Mbizo Chirasha to draw together other writers and poets for a discussion of the new colonialism of Africa?
  • And who better to handle a panel discussion on surviving life with disabilities and chronic illness than Kella Hanna-Wayne?
  • Many of our contributors run organizations that are working for the good in their communities: clothing closets, food banks, soup kitchens, after-school programs, boys-and-girls club activities and on and on. So much good is being done.

And how about a Zine anthology? The sales might help with the maintenance of this site and its activities as well as promoting and acknowledging our talented contributors.

I’d have loved to be involved in helping to bring such work to the fore. What do you think? Share your thoughts and preferences in the comments section below. Enthusiasm is encouragement. Maybe the team will decide to move forward on these ideas. It’s up to them, of course. They probably have some other and better ideas themselves. One way or another, whatever The Zine Team decides to do, it will be magnificent. Guaranteed.

With love from the edge of eternity,
Jamie Dedes
The BeZine Founding Editor, Editor Emerita


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“Persephone’s Daughters” Statement on the Murder of George Floyd; Racial Justice Funds

George Floyd in 2016/ source WP:NFCC#4 / used here under Fair Use

“Spring irises bloom.
The caged bird no longer sings—
a knee on his throat.”
Kamand Kojouri



Dear Persephone’s Daughters readers, contributors, and community,

It is with outrage, grief, and solidarity that we join the voices of those worldwide condemning the heinous, racist acts of police brutality that directly resulted in the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th, 2020.

As a literary and arts journal with staff members and readers from all over the world, and a home base in Minnesota as our Editor-in-Chief’s place of residence, we grieve for the pain not only of our reeling community in the Twin Cities, but also for all those worldwide who have lost loved ones to police brutality.

Our mission is to uplift the voices of those pursuing peace after trauma, and to provide community and calm through healing art and storytelling. We envision, one day, a world free from violence. Not only from domestic and sexual violence and child abuse, of which many of our readers and contributors have survived, but also from racism, police brutality, systemic oppression, and the sharply entrenched inequities upon which the United States is historically built.

As artists and writers, we hold both the power to bring healing, and the power to illustrate and narrate the violent acts which deny, disrupt, and prolong it. As artists and writers giving voice to other artists and writers, we refuse to remain silent in the wake of abject, intentional terror.

In 2016, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, we brought you the Post-Election Mini Issue, a compilation of voices expressing their pain and anger at the election of a racist, ableist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic individual to one of the highest offices in the United States. Make no mistake – racism is alive and well in America in 2020 because America is an inherently racist project. Racist systems and racist individuals are killing Black men, Black women, and Black transgender folks at epidemic proportions, all with the direct support of this nation’s president.

We implore you to join us in action, however that action may look. Through protest, through provision of bailout funds, through distribution of food and basic necessities to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, to a commitment to hire and value BIPOC leadership, to challenge and actively work to dismantle, everyday, the systems that benefit white communities at the expense of BIPOC communities.

Silence in the face of this terror is in itself a violent act. We encourage you to do all of the above, in addition to donating to the following racial justice funds:

The George Floyd Memorial Fund supports George Floyd’s family with funeral and burial expenses, mental health counseling, lodging and travel for court proceedings, and basic necessities in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Minnesota Freedom Fund, a community-based nonprofit that pays criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals arrested. Note: MFF has received a significant influx of donations and is requesting that donations be given to orgs such as Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block, detailed below.

Black Visions Collective, a Black, transgender, and queer-led organization committed to long-term success and transformation in Minnesota’s Black communities.

Reclaim the Block, a coalition that advocates for and invests in community-led safety initiatives in Minneapolis neighborhoods such as violence prevention, housing, and responses to opioid and mental health crises.

Campaign Zero, an organization that utilizes policy solutions to end police brutality through limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.

Northstar Health Collective, a radical healthcare initiative providing health care services and other resources to marginalized communities; currently, they are on the frontlines, safeguarding the health of protestors.

National Bail Fund Network, a compiled list of bail funds across America. Donate to your local bail fund to support protestors in your area!

For those looking to learn more about the racist bedrock of policing, here are some educational resources to get started with:

Transform Harm, a resource hub about ending oppressive violence.

#BecauseWe’veRead, a reading list on policing and police/prison abolition.

A World Without Police, an organization that has compiled a study guide on the police.

@thegreatunlearn on Instagram & Patreon, a series of resources and critical discourse created by Rachel Cargle to aid in unlearning, including self-paced syllabi on racial justice.

In previous communications to our readers, we had stated that all proceeds from the print version of Issue 6 would be donated to the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse. We will now be splitting all proceeds and donating 25% to the Northwest Network and the remaining 75% to Black Visions Collective.

Please join us.

In solidarity,

Persephone’s Daughters

Meggie Royer, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Bhargavi Goel, Prose Reader & Editor

Mikey Jakubowski, Poetry Editor & Film Judge

Taylor Pevey, Prose Reader & Newsletter Staff

Uma Dwivedi, Prose Editor

Elena Torry-Schrag, Poetry Reader

Siam Hatzaw, Poetry & Prose Editor

Delaney Dunn, Prose Reader

Jessica Mazzeo, Art Evaluator & Social Media Team Member

Elijah Noble El, Persephone’s Daughters Film Division Co-Founder

Avleen K Mokha, Poetry & Prose Editor

Eleanor Hough, Poetry Editor

Sarah Shaughnessy, Prose Editor & Poetry Reader

Kim Kaletsky, Prose Reader

Catherine Luo, Art Evaluator

Tanvi Deshmukh, Poetry Editor & Art Evaluator

Rachel Hultquist, Prose Editor 

Lakshmi Mitra, Poetry Editor

This post is courtesy of Persephone’s Daughters and is shared here with permission; Mr. Floyd’s photograph is from Wikipedia. 


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

SAVE THE DATE: 100,000 Poets (and Allies) for Change, September 26, 2020; Call for Submissions to 100TPC Anthology

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde



SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

SAVE THE DATE

It’s twelve years since I started using poetry for activism, involving myself first with Sam Hamell‘s Poets Against the War. Almost ten years have passed since poet, publisher, musician and artist, Michael Rothenberg, and editor, artist, graphic designer, and translator Terri Carrion, co-founded 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) to which I am seriously devoted.

Through the decade our 100TPC poet-activist numbers have grown. We’ve expanded to include allies. These creatives from around the world share the values of peace, sustainability, and social justice. They speak out against corruption, cruelty, tyranny, and suppression through poetry, story, music, mime, art and photography, sometimes at personal risk.

INVITATION

If you’ve been involved before, please note the date and participate again. If you haven’t participated in 100TPC, we invite you to become a part of this worthy worldwide initiative.

By “we” I mean:

  • Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, founders and organizers of Global 100TPC;
  • Regional organizers for 100TPC (connect with yours via the 100TPC.org blog roll or contact Michael Rothenberg to set up your own event), and
  • The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine and hosts of The BeZine Virtual 100TPC.


FROM PRIOR YEARS:

SAMPLES OF POSTERS FROM

REGIONAL EVENTS

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THE BeZINE

~ Be inspired . . . Be creative . . . Be peace . . . Be ~

VIRTUAL 100TPC

Our banner was designed by Zine team member Corina Ravenscraft (Dragon’s Dreams)

The second year I invited poetry against war was 2011. I put up a post on Into the Bardo (the name of the site before it became The BeZine) and invited folks to share their poems in the comments section. That was the last year for Sam Hamill’s Poets Against the War and the first year for Michael and Terri’s 100,000 Poets for Change.

Since 2012, we (The Bardo Group) have hosted an annual virtual event on the fourth Saturday of September in concert with Global 100TPC. My thought for going virtual was that there were many others who, like me, are home bound but want to have their say, want to stand for peace, sustainability and social justice. Soon Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) joined our team and a new tradition was born. Michael became our Master of Ceremonies.

This year – whether your are homebound or not – we invite you to join with us via The BeZine Virtual 100TPC on September 26.  Complete instructions for sharing your work will be included in the post that day.  Between us, Michael Dickel and I keep the event running for twenty-four hours or so. Mark your calendars.

Watch for more info here and at The BeZine on these initiatives and . . .

Upcoming:

  • Call for Submissions to the September 15, 2020 issue of The BeZine, which is a prelude to 100TPC;
  • The Poet by Day 100TPC Wednesday Writing Prompt, September 16, hosted by Michael Dickel; and
  • A contest (the heart-child of Zine team member, Corina Ravenscraft) to find the best The BeZine 2021 header for our Facebook Discussion Page.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group,
Jamie Dedes, Founding Editor and
now Co-Manager Editor with Michael Dickel



100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020)
VOL 1: The Memoir

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

From Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion

In the tenth year anniversary of the movement, we are excited to invite all ​past and present 100TPC organizers and/or participants, to submit a three page ​essay to be considered for inclusion in ​the book ​100 THOUSAND POETS FOR CHANGE [100TPC]: Ten years of evolution (2011-2020),​ which will be published on a date to be announced.

This book will tell the story of 100TPC from the perspective of the poets who have been a part of creating and sustaining it. Through ​our personal essays, the reader will learn not only about the individual stories of the hundreds of poets-organizers from all corners, reflecting on the social and cultural effects of such poetic actions, but it will also offer an enriched summary and an organized way to learn about this grassroots movement and its impact on the history of poetry. It can also be thought of as a guidebook and manual, for future generations interested in the strategy of activists engaged in manifesting positive change–peace, justice and sustainability.

THEMES:

You can submit a ​maximum of two essays,​ only one (1) per theme. Be sure to send each essay in a ​separate e​mail (see details below).

1. FOUNDATIONAL EXPERIENCES.​ First experiences as organizer/ poet/ artist/ audience with ​100,000 Poets for Change.​
2. LOCAL EXPERIENCES.​ Experiences seen as a whole, after these ten years. Reflect on your achievements, or whatever you have witnessed, good and bad. You can choose to write about success or disappointments, benefits and limitations, even if you were not an organizer/participant consistently for the past ten years.
3. IMPRESSIONS​: Reflections and stories on the philosophy, ideas and spirit propelling the movement. How has this movement informed your poetics?
4. SALERNO.​ If you participated in the 2015 Salerno conference, you can choose to write about it, as a whole experience, and/or highlighting a specific story or aspects of the conference.
5. READ A POEM TO A CHILD.​ If you have been part of the Read a Poem to a Child initiative, you can also choose to write about that.

Submission deadline:​ December 1, 2020

Format guidelines​: Word document, Times New Roman, Font 12, Double Spaced.

Maximum 750 words.

Language​: If you are not an English speaking writer, please send your text in its original language along with the best possible English translation (three pages max, each). At this point, the project will only include the English version, but we’re studying alternatives to the issue of language, and world accessibility.
Bio & Photos:​ Please send a fifty word Bio as a Word doc. attachment. Also, and this is optional, you can attach three-to-five good quality images (jpg) related to your essay, and/or the events you organized in your community. Include photo caption and credits. Do not send bio photos. We want exceptional images that offer a glimpse either of the themes or aspects we’ve mentioned above, the collective drive, or the audience reaction.

Please send your submissions and/or any questions to: ​10yr100tpcbook@gmail.com In the email’s Subject Matter​, please write your essay’s t​heme.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Twenty-eight Leading Press Organizations Sign an Open Letter to U.S. Law Enforcement To Stop Attacks on Journalists

A meeting at the National Press Club photograph courtesy of Terissa Schor from Washington, DC under CC BY 2.0

“The nation’s leading journalism and press freedom organizations today called on law enforcement, mayors and governors across the country to halt the unprecedented assault against journalists in the field covering the protests for social justice.” National Press Club



On Monday an open letter to law enforcement officials nationwide was signed by twenty-eight press freedom organizations calling on police officers to cease their attacks on journalists providing coverage of the nation’s recent protests.

The signatories include:

PEN America reports that in addition to indiscriminate use by the police of pepper spray, rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot gear against unarmed civilians at protests, the targeted arrests of and attacks on journalists covering these events marks a potentially devastating departure from the American tradition at a critical national moment.

“These violent attacks against the working press are an affront to our Constitutional values, namely the First Amendment and the protections it provides to the free press,” said PEN America’s Washington director Thomas O. Melia. “By trying to silence journalists, law enforcement officers are seeking apparently to prevent reporters from fulfilling their invaluable mission of informing the public, holding our leaders accountable, and providing vital information to citizens across the country. As an organization whose mission focuses on fostering dialogue across differences and amplifying lesser-heard voices, we at PEN America thank the National Press Club for leading on this timely letter reminding our nation’s police that their duty remains the protection of all law-abiding citizens, including journalists. In order for reporters to effectively bear witness to this movement at a decisive moment for our nation, these assaults must immediately cease.” 

This post is courtesy of the National Press Club and PEN America.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton