The Great Hunger, my newest poetry book, started with a suggestion from poet Allison Adelle Hedge Coke to put art in service to an issue. When I first arrived in Colorado I took a week's workshop with her at Naropa University, and it was all to the good. I'd long been concerned about food supplies--my own, the issues of organics, the risks of agriculture, the fact that Americans are mostly too fat and other people in the world go hungry. I still have no clear process for sorting out these issues and seeing a path to what might be called Food Ethics. But I do continue to learn and to put myself in a position to help, however slight and local that position may be. And sometimes I have fun in the process.
This coming Sunday, February 20th, poet Carolyn Jennings and I will do a benefit reading for our local food bank, FISH. We are reading at West Side Books on 32nd Avenue in Denver. Price of admission is a donation for FISH. The fun comes as we read in a call-and-response pattern--one of my poems from The Great Hunger, then one of Carolyn's from her book, Hunger Speaks. It's pretty amazing to see how our poems speak to each other. Then, we hope, audience members will read poems about food that they have brought. Then, we eat. We eat so that others may eat. We read poetry so that others may eat. It's going to be delicious.