The recent blasts that shook Boston retriggered fears and made us relive 9/11. Runners in the marathon were caught in the barrage and the entire city was in lockdown as the manhunt ensued. Cambridge artist Jeannie Motherwell relives the tragic events and shares her personal account in her interview with Kit Kennedy.
Yesterday the Oklahoma City tornado struck, leveling homes, a school and an entire community. Today we mourn as our hearts go out to the victims.
After 9/11, many people said the world would never be the same. They were right. With the horror of the collapse of the World Trade Towers we witnessed how our lives can dissolve in an instant. Life is fleeting…and even steel structures don’t last. That tragedy made us keenly aware of this ever-present reality. The fact is, we are always teetering on the edge.
Writing a poem or looking at a painting is an act of self-realization. We stop to “smell the roses” through poetry and art and connect with nature and eternity. A renewal of spirit takes place that is akin to coming home. Here at SF Peace and Hope, we believe that examining global change and celebrating the changeless aspects of life are both essential.
Since 9/11 the U.S. has become embroiled in conflicts in the Middle East, and the political climate at home has become increasingly polarized. We believe that these transformational times require creative thinking outside polemical or partisan boxes. The continual shortages of resources that we face are staggering as we struggle both for survival and social reform.
Less dramatic, but no less revolutionary, have been the changes in global communication created by digital technology that alters how we experience time and space. The benefits of these changes are many, and can be seen via Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, and the Internet. However, we risk becoming mechanical drones with media devices if we lose our full capacity to think and feel in a human way.
Combined with all the other distractions, the drumbeat of fear overwhelms us as we turn ourselves over to the news of the day. Yes, it is essential to be informed about what is happening in the world but not be bombarded with too much information that repeats itself endlessly.
Violence, greed, and incivility are often the sad outcome. And the subtler, deeper emotions are overpowered by all the anger and fear-mongering. A perpetual cycle emerges.
How do we end this cycle? Poets, writers, and artists are not afraid to immerse themselves in the depths of emotion. Poetry, writing, and the arts confront the complex feelings and issues head-on.
“Peace” and “hope” seem like remote words. Jane Green’s poem, “With gratitude One Minute for Peace & Hope,” in Chapter 1 is a reminder that every moment of the day the goal of peace is an individual choice.
These are words from Dr. Victor Frankl from his book Man’s Search for Meaning about his experiences at Auschwitz during World War II. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
So, given all this constant change and turmoil, are peace and hope even possible? Evolution will ultimately tell the tale. Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.” The poets and artists in the journal together have created a peace hope vision. I hope the poetry and artwork in this journal will help you through hard times and perhaps even offer a preview of what’s to come.
Thank you to all the talented contributors to SF Peace and Hope for creating this vision…and possibility.
September 11th, 2001, was personally devastating, as I had always thought of New York City as a home away from home. Since my father was in the military, my family moved constantly throughout the U.S. and abroad, but we always returned to visit relatives there, and even after I relocated to the Bay area, those strong links remained. I started blogging on September 12th as a way of connecting to New York and San Francisco, east and west, past and present — and, perhaps, through writing and art, making a small contribution toward improving the world situation.
The Bay area poets Kit Kennedy, Frances Spencer, Claire J. Baker, Ken Saffran, Mary Rudge, and Richard Angilly responded immediately to that challenge, and the Peace and Hope enterprise has grown and matured during the past decade, expanding to become an online publication informed by the idealism of the 1960s. It remains a labor of love produced by the poets and visual artists of the San Francisco Bay area and beyond.
Heartfelt thanks to all who have been so generous with their time and talent, including supporter and advisor, Al Young, who has contributed the inspiring foreword and has been a keynote poet at all our events, to Niya C. Sisk who created the beautiful web design, to Marty Wood for his wonderful tech support and to Kit Kennedy, who has brought in many fabulous poets and has supported SF Peace and Hope in a myriad of ways to numerous to mention.
We received so much fine work for the annual Spring 2013 issue. A huge thanks to all the poets and artists.
Berkeley, California 2013