Poets Against War continues the tradition of socially engaged poetry by creating venues for poetry as a voice against war, tyranny and oppression.

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A Short History of Poets Against War

In late January 2003, in response to an invitation to a symposium by Laura Bush to celebrate "Poetry and the American Voice," Sam Hamill declined; a longtime pacifist, he could not in good faith visit the White House following the recent news of George W. Bush's plan for a unilateral "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq. Instead, he asked about 50 fellow poets to "reconstitute a Poets Against the War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam...to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend your names to our petition against this war” by submitting poems of protest that he would send to the White House. When 1,500 poets responded within four days, this web site was created as a means of handling the enormous, unexpected response.

By March 1, more than 13,000 poems had been reviewed and posted by 25 volunteer editors. Since then, the "accidental groundswell" grew to include poets from other nations. All of the poems on this web site have been presented in person, and by invitation, to several representatives of the U.S. Congress; many of them have since been introduced into the Congressional Record. This historically large collection has also been presented by poets to the governments of England, Australia, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, and probably more. It has been presented to representatives from Alaska to Connecticut.

Today, although the attack wasn't prevented, poets continue to speak out for a world in which non-violence and international cooperation will ultimately prevail over a single administration's philosophy that the most horrendous crimes are justified in the service of foreign policy. Today it is more important than ever to lift our voices in support of respectful explorations of alternatives to war. Please join us. Organize a reading. Keep joining protests. Teach compassion. Participate. In all of America's history, poets have never made such a difference.

If you can go a step further, we'd be grateful for your donation to help build this grassroots movement for peace. Click here to offer financial support.


A Short History of PAW

Press Archive
Links to News Articles About PAW

Open Letters From Sam Hamill
Jan 1, 2005
Sept 11, 2004
June 20, 2004
Jan 1, 2004
July 4, 2003

Reports from the Streets
March 5th, Day of Poetry
Poems Presented to Canadian PM
October 25th Report
NPT Meeting Report