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Archive for October, 2006

Guerrilla poetry & percussion workshop + performance at Wilson High School

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Guerrilla poets Jessica and Shahid visited Woodrow Wilson High School in Tenleytown today, hosting a workshp for students in the Humanities, Arts & Media Academy focusing on poetry and percussion.  A small group of students walked through basic drumming techniques before trying their hand at a collaborative jam.  Each student then wrote a poem, and most shared their work with the rest of the group.  Organizers of the annual event — at which this was the GPI's third consecutive appearance — reported later that students reflected positively on the experience.

Later, Shahid returned to Wilson to kick rhymes in a set featuring Tri-Flava, Reggie from Sol y Sol, Margaux Delotte-Bennett, and a former National Poetry Slam champion named Gayle.  The mic was hot, the students went ballistic with their applause, and a good time was had by all. 

Many thanks to Kristen for making her drums available for the afternoon workshop; and to AU student and documentarian Hunter Herrick for giving a ride to the evening show!

thinking of zen

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

thinking of zen

find out just what you don’t need.
put it on sale and buy 10 of them.
say it was worth saving the money.

pick out a small dark spot that is scary.
send your children in to it without light.
tell them it was an effort towards freedom.

take a nail and pound it through your hand.
find the release of enlightenment in the pain.
say that you will never again forget love.

walk away from the collection of shops.
shine lights into your own fears of the dark.
avoid causing suffering to any part of the whole.

GPI Gathering: Sunday, October 8, 2006

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

GPI Gathering — Sunday, October 8, 2006

NEXT GATHERING:   November 12, 2006, location TBD

Attendees: Jeff, Laurie, Shahid, Mai lynn, Travis and Hunter


·        G-town – Urban Fare – Oct. 27 – possible opportunity (UPDATE: we found out later today 10/8 around 8pm – this is not happening)

·        Spring Tour:  We're working on a spring tour hitting campuses in the midwest, including Purdue and the University of Michigan.  We have lines on more potential opportunities through a few different sources.  Shahid will be following up on the academic departments and let the group know the plans.

o       Plan to hit 2-3 college campus in a 100 mile radius. 


Apparent Allies in Central America

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

Props to Andrew Vargo (movement strategist extraordinaire and developer of the code driving this website) for pointing out an article about Hip Hop in Bolivia, described by the author as "music blend[ing] ancient Andean folk styles and new hip hop beats with lyrics about revolution and social change."  Abraham Bojorquez, an artist in the El Alto, Bolivia, said that he performs:

to show "the reality of what is happening in our country. Through our lyrics we criticize the bad politicians that take advantage of us. With this style of hip hop, we’re an instrument of struggle, an instrument of the people . . . . The door is open to everyone…This is our proposal for how to change society," Bojorquez said. Though they collaborate with a wide variety of people, "we don’t just sing things like ‘I’m feeling bad, my girlfriend just left me and now I am going to get drunk.’ It’s more about trying to solve problems in society."

In 2005, Bolivians elected Evo Morales to the Presidency of Bolovia, making him the first indigenous head of state since the Spanish conquest nearly 500 years ago.  Observed in the context of other governments in the region, such as those in Venezuela and Brazil, Morales has been increasngly perceived as a harbinger of a broader shift to the Left in Latin America .  

Anyone wanna speculate on the role of revolutionary music in preparing Bolivian culture for such political assertiveness, or perhaps when the belligerent Superpower to its north might invade? 

An Ethnography of the Poetry Insurgency

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

This post features an ethnography written by Brendan Kiernan, American University, Class of 2007. Selected excerpts appear here; "read more" to read the complete ehtnography:

We are a group of individuals dedicated to using poetry and spoken word to speak truth to power….We host free speech gatherings at places like the DuPont Circle Park and the National Mall. We facilitate workshops at high schools, universities, and conferences. We support community members, organizations, and movements by playing at fundraisers, protests, and other venues. Describing the Guerilla Poetry Insurgency is like capturing a single moment of time. We are always growing, members come and go, venues change, political issues change, and so does energy for movement building….


The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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