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What You Can Do—An Update from Poetry X Hunger

By Hiram Larew:




Here’s a challenge for you:


In 2023, the poets and artists of Poetry X Hunger and Poartry raised more than $10,000 during auctions and readings for Feed the Children, for Seed Programs International’s School Gardens in Uganda, and for Roots for Life in Washington, DC. Yes! And in the last few months of 2023–2024, I’ve been able to sell my own poetry items and use all sale proceeds—every cent—to donate more than $900 to local area food banks. 


Remarkably, my usual hesitancy about marketing evaporated during these sales; I wasn’t shy at all about asking folks to purchase my poetry to support the anti-hunger cause.  


Here’s the point:


We can Turn Poetry into Food!

Yes.


So why don’t you try it? 


The next time you’re organizing a reading or selling your poetry, consider turning it into a fundraiser, and then donate a portion or all of the funds you raise to an anti-hunger or other important cause. If you do try this approach, let me know. I’d enjoy hearing about it.    



Lastly, some good news just in: a musician/composer who has been commissioned by Indiana University to create a piece for a choir and string quartet has chosen a Poetry X Hunger poem by Sylvia Dianne Beverly aka Ladi Di for the song’s lyrics. The recording of this amazing collaborative music will be released in Spring 2024. Very exciting! 


Here’s a poem from Poetry X Hunger’s website, "Aid and Development" by Allison Rose. You can listen to Ms. Rose read her poem by visiting her page on the website.




Aid‌ ‌and‌ ‌Development‌ ‌


All‌ ‌across‌ ‌the‌ ‌land‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌people‌ ‌despair,‌ 

‌They‌ ‌have‌ ‌limited‌ ‌fresh‌ ‌produce‌ ‌to‌ ‌eat‌ ‌or‌ ‌share.‌ ‌

They‌ ‌have‌ ‌rice‌ ‌and‌ ‌empty‌ ‌calories‌ ‌galore,‌ ‌ ‌

But‌ ‌micronutrients‌ ‌are‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌need‌ ‌more.‌ ‌


‌Who‌ ‌do‌ ‌we‌ ‌trust‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌them‌ ‌be‌ ‌free‌ ‌

From‌ ‌the‌ ‌suppressive‌ ‌hunger‌ ‌they‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌flee?‌ ‌

They‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌knowledge‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌will,‌ 

‌But‌ ‌no‌ ‌empowerment‌ ‌to‌ ‌teach‌ ‌their‌ ‌skill.‌ ‌ ‌


What‌ ‌holds‌ ‌them‌ ‌back‌ ‌from‌ ‌prosperity?‌ ‌

Corrupt‌ ‌politicians,‌ ‌unstable‌ ‌food‌ ‌chains,‌ ‌you,‌ ‌me?‌ ‌

Who‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌blame‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌hunger‌ ‌epidemic‌ ‌

One‌ ‌which‌ ‌is‌ ‌exacerbated‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌current‌ ‌pandemic?‌ ‌ ‌


Is‌ ‌it‌ ‌the‌ ‌aid‌ ‌organizations‌ ‌that‌ ‌keep‌ ‌people‌ ‌dependent?‌ ‌

Or‌ ‌the‌ ‌historical‌ ‌colonizers‌ ‌of‌ ‌which‌ ‌some‌ ‌are‌ ‌descendent?‌ ‌

Is‌ ‌it‌ ‌the‌ ‌political‌ ‌institutions‌ ‌that‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌seem‌ ‌to‌ ‌stabilize?‌ ‌

Or‌ ‌the‌ ‌countries‌ ‌that‌ ‌fund‌ ‌corruption‌ ‌under‌ ‌their‌ ‌aid‌ ‌disguise?‌ ‌ ‌


The‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌people‌ ‌will‌ ‌fight‌ ‌back‌ ‌and‌ ‌rise‌ ‌up‌ ‌and‌ ‌publicize‌ ‌

The‌ ‌injustices‌ ‌they‌ ‌face‌ ‌daily,‌ ‌which‌ ‌make‌ ‌us‌ ‌empathize‌ ‌ ‌

To‌ ‌their‌ ‌experiences,‌ ‌ones‌ ‌we‌ ‌cannot‌ ‌normalize.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌hunger‌ ‌and‌ ‌instability‌ ‌which‌ ‌will‌ ‌terrorize,‌ ‌

Until‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌powers‌ ‌finally‌ ‌decide‌ ‌to‌ ‌decolonize.‌ ‌ ‌


What‌ ‌we‌ ‌need‌ ‌now‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌give‌ ‌back‌ ‌the‌ ‌power‌ ‌ ‌

To‌ ‌the‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌folks‌ ‌with‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌brainpowers.‌ 

‌The‌ ‌knowledge‌ ‌that‌ ‌is‌ ‌in‌ ‌their‌ ‌hearts‌ ‌and‌ ‌souls,‌ ‌

Will‌ ‌help‌ ‌their‌ ‌communities‌ ‌to‌ ‌reach‌ ‌their‌ ‌nutrition‌ ‌goals.‌


— Allison Rose


 

Allison Rose

Allison Rose is a University of California, Davis undergraduate majoring in International Agriculture Development and minoring in Environmental Policy and Planning. She has major interests in environmental justice and food equity. She hopes to be a part of the solution to environmental racism by working with agriculture and agricultural communities.



 

Hiram Larew

Hiram Larew founded the informal Poetry X Hunger initiative in 2017 as a way to bring two areas of interest—poetry and hunger prevention—together. Upon retiring from the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he helped guide international agriculture programs, he noticed that relatively little poetry about hunger was available. Believing in the power of poetry to touch hearts and minds, he launched Poetry X Hunger as a way to encourage poets to write about hunger.

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