By Hiram Larew:
September is Hunger Action Month in America.
Join the Online Poetry Fundraiser for
Seed Programs International’s Uganda Program on
As mentioned in a recent interview with Flapper Press, over the coming months, this column will focus on the growing tragedy of hunger and how poets from near and far—like YOU—are stepping up to help fight it. So, here we go . . .
While we don’t need a designated time to fight hunger, it doesn’t hurt that the entire month of September is Hunger Action Month in the U.S. As kids return to school, school lunches become a key—maybe the only—meal of the day for many students. And as temperatures turn cool then cold in the Northern Hemisphere, many folks will be in need of additional food assistance to make it through the bad weather.
How to Help
As you can imagine, there are many, many ways for you to chip in. Donating time or money are key. But, you ask, how do I even start to do that? It’s easy. To find a nearby food program that needs help, just search on your computer or cellphone for “hunger” and your zip or postal code. Or, if you want to help beyond your neighborhood, search for “hunger” and your country or use the term “global.” All kinds of organizations will pop up on your screen. They’ll describe what they do and how you can volunteer or donate.
So yes, offering time and money are critically important—and they are the traditional, mainstay ways people lend a hand. But, what most folks—especially creative folks—never consider is how their talents may be useful in the fight against hunger. Specifically, if you write poetry or know someone who does, read on!
Poetry X Hunger is rousing poets to write about empty-stomach hunger. Why? Well, the reason is simple: poems touch hearts and reach minds. And it doesn’t matter the age of the reader or listener or their race or location or even sports team affiliation. Ha! A powerful hunger-focused poem touches everyone. Poems capture attentions, influence actions, and even change minds.
Poems light the way in the anti-hunger cause.
Do you need convincing? Well, just watch what happens when a young poet, an elder, or anyone else presents a moving, haunting poem about some aspect of hunger. The room often goes silent, with cell phones ignored, bathroom breaks forgotten, and attentions riveted—all because of that amazing poem that’s being presented.
But, So What?
What does this mean to you? Well, it’s simple. If you are a new or experienced poet or know someone who is, consider sending any original hunger-focused poem to Poetry X Hunger for possible publication on the website. We use such poems to fight hunger.
Here’s the link: Submission Guidelines - Poetry X Hunger
Need a nudge to get started writing? Here are some first-line prompts that may help:
"Oops, I just threw away half of an orange."
"I don’t understand. I’m not hungry. So, why is that guy I just passed hungry?"
Who and what causes hunger?
One More Action—attend our Poetry Fundraiser! Join us online on Saturday, September 23, at 4 p.m. ET (U.S.) when some poets will share their Poetry X Hunger poems—all to raise support for Seed Programs International and its School Gardens work in Uganda. Here’s the link for donating and attending this free event.
So, all of this is to say that for everyone’s sake, we need to re-double our work to reduce and then end hunger. Yes, more than 40 million people in the United States are hungry right now, and more than 40% of all food grown is wasted. Those numbers are a Call to All Poets!
Here’s a poem from the Poetry X Hunger website:
Hunger: Who Cares?
By Sandeep Sharma
No one cares whether I have eaten or not No one cares whether it’s the call from the belly or the fucking tongue again No one cares whether the pregnant goat on my plate
was hungry before it was slain No one cares if the shadow of the food on my plate is overpriced or not No one cares whether I sold a kiss as per my desires or not No one cares if I eat mindlessly or mindfully No one cares if a poor mother from slum chasing her child
holding a roti on the GT Road dies in some traffic accident May I ask questions on measuring the length of our moral obligations
and my unstoppable diarrhoea which can lead your mind to an infinite spiral? But who cares whether I’m confused or not? Do I care if they buy branded clothes, gold, diamond, iPhones, Tesla? They should be concerned only if I eat and produce more children They should be but why will I?
Sandeep Sharma is an Asst. Prof of English at Government College, Diggal (HP), India. He is Associate Editor of the journals In Translation (Université Badji Moktar de Annaba) and Traduction et Langues, University of Oran 2. He received the Award of Academic Excellence (2022) by the Arab Translators’ Association for his works. He has published his works with The Anguillian (Anguilla), In Translation (Algeria), HP University (India) and others. His academic profile remains at the top 1% (with 270k views) on academia.edu. To read more of his work, click here.