On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some of America’s most celebrated authors gathered on the steps of the New York Public Library to protest Donald Trump’s attacks on freedom of speech. In a protest called „Writers resist,“ Michael Cunningham, Laurie Anderson, Moustafa Bayoumi, Rick Moody, Art Spiegelman, Jacqueline Woodson, Eve Ensler, and dozens of others read poems and texts to guide contemporary Americans as they embark on the path of resistance to Trump’s administration. George Orwell, Allen Ginsberg and even Frank Zappa (offered by Art Spiegelman) were popular choices – as was, understandably, Martin Luther King.
„Our focuses used to be violation of freedom of the speech that happen abroad. We never dreamed that we would be turning our attentions at home, at the level we now need to,“ said Andrew Solomon, president of PEN America, a literary association that works to protect open expression. “As Chairman Mao and Joseph Stalin have started by going after the intellectuals whose words might form an opposition, so Trump started by going after us. We are the ground zero for his fight for total power,” he said, addressing New Yorkers holding protest banners and portraits of James Baldwin, Junot Diaz and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky wrote a poem for the occasion, inspired by the battles against oppression of Gwendolyn Brooks and Polish poet Czesław Miłosz. “Now my fellow dissidents, we endure a moment of charismatic indecency. Charismatic indecency and sanctimonious falsehood beyond shame. Our polish grandfather Milosz and our African American grandmother Brooks endured worse than this. First fight then fiddle, she wrote,” read Pinsky from the poem.
“Language is the tool we use to build our political and democratic structures.” How writers are resisting Trump (and suggestions on how to give back). | Boston.com, GOOD Magazine