From the Stop Mass Incarceration Network on Alice Walker's Poem


September 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


This appears at

Alice Walker's poem "Gather" is an extremely powerful and moving poem, on its own terms and on many different levels. Alice Walker has brought out some very deep truths about the society we live in, the people we are, the reality we face... and what we must do. She has used imagery and incidents and words that reach deep into us, that change the way we feel and think about the world and ourselves, that touch our humanity. As art, this poem will live for a long, long time, moving people on many different levels and in many different ways.

At the same time, Alice Walker herself has linked this poem to the Month of Resistance and asked that it be used to build that month. This poem, out very broadly in society, can affect how people see the moment we are in and what they must do. It can be a way for people to act. Everyone who reads this poem has to help get this out!

Think about it. First, there's the question of helping to get this poem out to everyone you know. If you are on social media, maximize its exposure there. If you have a blog, post it. If you go to shows or talks or poetry readings, get this poem in front of people.

And aren't there other ways this poem can do its work? What if someone were to do a reading and make a good video of it? What if teachers were to organize a specific day in October when this poem was read and taught in classrooms all over the country?

Couldn't readings of this poem help anchor evenings in October where poetry and other forms of cultural expression against mass incarceration were "put on stage"? Could someone—or someones—with money pay for this poem to be printed, in October, in USA Today—or to otherwise get this out there before millions?

Alice Walker's poem is a gift, in more ways than one.

Let's accept it and use it in the spirit in which it was given.

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.