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New Bedford joins historic worldwide poetry reading
Lauren Daley - southcoasttoday.com/
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September 23, 2011
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New Bedford joins historic worldwide poetry reading
Calling all SouthCoast poets, poetry-lovers and Weekend Writers:

Here's your chance to be in the record books.

Poets at 600 events in 450 cities and 95 countries — including New Bedford — are coming together for what is thought to be the largest poetry reading ever on Sept. 24.

"100 Thousand Poets for Change" is aimed at raising awareness for environmental, social, and political change. Gallery X will host a local reading from 2 to 5 p.m.

Poets, writers and artists are invited to create, perform, educate and demonstrate — in any way they chose — the theme of peace and sustainability. The event was founded by Michael Rothenberg, a San Francisco-based poet, editor of the online literary magazine Bigbridge.org and an environmental activist based in Northern California.

"When I heard about it, I thought it would be really great to have in New Bedford," said local event organizer Maggie Cleveland.

The reading at Gallery X will be held the same day as the Working Waterfront Festival in downtown New Bedford. Although the reading is not associated with that event, Cleveland urged people who are planning on attending the festival to pop into Gallery X to listen or read.

"People (are welcome) to come and speak for a minute or two about any kind of change — social, political, environmental — that they'd like to see in the area. Some cities chose a theme, but I left it open," she said. "Poetry is a universal way to connect."

Worldwide, the events range from a poetry and peace gathering in Kabul and Jalalabad, to a gathering of poets, painters, filmmakers and musicians in Mexico City. Poetry readings are being held everywhere from Cairo, Egypt, to Madison, Wisc., and everywhere in between.

There are 29 events planned in India, seven in Nigeria, 17 in Canada, 19 in Great Britain, five in China, three in Cuba and more than 220 events in the United States.

In North Carolina, teachers and poets plan to conduct poetry workshops and peace readings, and will send poems to Congress in a statewide campaign to back the need for arts in schools. In Nebraska, poets will demonstrate against TransCanada's planned Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Here in New Bedford, Cleveland has left the theme open to "any kind of change you want to see around here."

All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

Immediately following the reading, all documentation on the 100TPC.org website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will archive the complete contents of the website, 100TPC.org, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

Cleveland is looking for additional readers and volunteers. Email her at whalingcityreview@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.100TPC.org.

+ Wexico http://news.wexico.com/literature/23sep2011/new-bedford-joins-historic-worldwide-poetry-reading.htm

Lauren Daley is a freelance writer. Contact her at ldaley33@gmail.com.

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