If Anthony Says It...
its only because he's nuts!
This website came from Wix with a built in blog. I have never understood why I had a blog instead of a "real page" even though what I have to say often has little or nothing to do with Better than Starbucks, or at least our stated mission, whatever that is. I think it is a high minded concept of promoting poetry and writing in general. Of course it changes a little bit every issue.
It turns out the blog is very hard for us to get to to make sure it is easily findable by Google and other search engines, (why the hell isn't finadable a word???) so from now on, or at least for now, the blog is no more, except in archived isuses. Instead, I graduated to my own page, which you are welcome to ignore, enjoy, or even complain about!
Bread for Poets
Sometimes, especially for some of us, even those who are well aware of the war and grinding poverty of the world, to not think about poets and artists living and working in these places. Yes, there is war in Syria, and blinding poverty in Bangladesh, but aren’t all poets from Cambridge and Oxford and Harvard and Yale, and most especially from U. of Penn.? Or at least from cities and villages all around the globe where education is readily available and almost nobody goes hungry, even if they don’t get paid to write poetry?
As part of my poetry and discovery, some folks might have noticed that I have developed a bit of a fascination with the appearance of Sanskrit and more generally Bangla. In the process, I have met some wonderful people in Bangladesh. No, I have not been there. Not yet, at least. Someday, I might want to travel there.
The thing about Bangladesh is that you can stay in the nicest hotel for $40 and eat the finest meal for $20, of course you can stay in a hotel for locals for $5 and eat a filling meal for $1. As you can see a dollar generally goes about 10 times as far there as it does here.
But as my late old ex grandfather-in-law would say, “in a country where chicken cost a penny, no one can afford an egg.” Which is to say, a moderately well off westerner can have a great luxurious vacation in Bangladesh for $100 per day, with the $3000 R/T airfare being by far the biggest expense of the trip. A Bengali lives off $3500 per year or less, in real buying power, compared to the average American or European who lives off nearly 15 times that much.
Think for a moment, what your life would be if you were 15 times richer than you are. Well, that is how much richer you are than the average person in Bangladesh!!!! Of course, there is poverty and suffering everywhere. There are real first world problems behind picket fences in gated communities with a private bedroom and bath for each resident as well as likely an extra for the occasional guest. So far, we have done a truly terrible job of persuading our readers to even donate to us, so we can do a better job for them. One might assume I am a terrible fund raiser.
One might be correct. But I am one other thing, more than anything else and more than anyone I know.
I am a trier of things, of doing things I am not supposed to have any reason to think I can do. Sometimes I do okay, sometimes I fail miserably. The truth is, I like to succeed, but I do not fear failure. I fear not doing what I can do.
So here we go again. I will feature the founder, in an upcoming interview of a Poetry Foundation for Bangladesh. We will talk about what he hopes to accomplish, what he is already doing. As the title says, I am interested also in literally keeping the poets and artists fed. I would like to set up a campaign to raise a few thousand dollars per month to underwrite creative activities, poems, paintings, sculptures and more.
I am interested in maybe establishing $100 per month grants to help the creative person survive. This would be equal to 30% of the average income! If we had $10,000 per month, that would support 100 creative people on an ongoing basis. If we only raised $500 per month, we could have an impact. Its hard to imagine anywhere else you could so little and have a significant impact on supporting art, and fighting poverty, too.
Could we do something for poets in Mississippi? In Syria? In Venezuela? Sure. We could do it anywhere. What would we require in return? Nothing? Or a certain amount of creative production? I don’t know.
So, two questions for you, the reader:
1) Are you interested in giving $10, or even $10 per month to support marginalized poets and artists anywhere around the globe?
2) If so, how would you like to do it?
I think it would be kind of neat to have a requirement for each contribution, not yours to the campaign, but from the campaign to a local organization or artist, some sort of production. Maybe we could have a section in BTS called, oh, I don’t know: Foundations, or Bread for Poetry, or whatever you the reader/donor wished (we could have a vote) and we would publish the images and the stories and the poems created by these recipients.
Is that horrible, or wonderful? Talk to us. Do you not care?
I recently ran across a literary publication that received a good bit of funding from starting a kickstarter campaign. Does that seem appropriate, for our fundraising for BTS? or for this new push to raise money for poets in impoverished countries?