You and I have attended so many political protests and poetry readings together over the years that I can’t keep track of them all. And that is one of the things I most admire about you: your fusion of poetry and politics, from everyday life to the largest collective vision, including all species (and non-species too). I’m guessing that the photo of us here is from the Republican National Convention protests in New York City in the summer of 2004. I vividly remember the police on rooftops with both 35mm cameras and assault rifles as we marched past Madison Square Garden where George W. Bush was banging the patriotic drum of endless war as part of his reelection campaign. The police don’t have to take photographs of us anymore. They know what we’re doing the moment we pick up our smartphones or turn on our computers.
Only someone with your inexhaustible energy could remain vigilant for so many decades—as a poet, writer, performer, teacher, scholar, organizer, activist, and outrider. I met you when I was so young that I can’t quite imagine my life—or poetry—without you. You contain multitudes, and I’m grateful to be a part of the assembly.
Alan Gilbert is the author of two books of poetry, The Treatment of Monuments and Late in the Antenna Fields, as well as a collection of essays, articles, and reviews, Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight.