Monday, November 21, 2011

“Beat Poets, not beat poets.”

From: Museum of American Poetics Store
"[...] Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down. [...]
     My wife [Brenda Hillman, b. 1951] bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines. [...]
     NONE of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is 'remonstrate.' I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, 'You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!' A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. [...] — Robert Haas, The New York Times
     "Robert Hass [b. 1941] is a professor of poetry and poetics at the University of California, Berkeley, and former poet laureate of the United States. [His wife Brenda Hillman is the Olivia Filippi Professor of Poetry at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California.]"

"[...] Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-​sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-​sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-​five minutes after being pepper-​sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood." — Gawker

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