Return to site

This Book Will Change Your Life - American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans, edited by the Chris Green.

· American Gun,Chris Green,Big Shoulders Books,DePaul University,Books
broken image

I may just be reading again, though even if I wasn't, couldn't, didn't have the energy to turn pages, I would read American Gun: A Poem by 100 Chicagoans from Big Shoulders Books and Editor Chris Green. I would have read it because I was pitched by a student from a publicity class at DePaul University and I would never say no to that. I would have read it because I've long had Big Shoulders Books on my radar and I've wanted to interview someone about their focus on social justice. I would have read it because guns and Chicago, and as American Gun so terribly alludes to, America and guns. Because with a pandemic sweeping the country and protests over George Floyd's murder dominating the discourse it's easy to forget about gun violence, which is also its own kind of virus, and no less an issue of public health. As Chris says on This Podcast Will Change Your Life, it's also all to easy to become inured to gun violence. I'd rather we not though and I certainly would rather that I not. Though more than that, I'm reminded during this pandemic and these protests of the great inequalities that exist in America and the systemic racism built into our institutions and policies, and how this institutional racism and these inequities disproportionally impact people of color and those who are impoverished. Also, that gun violence is no different than the pandemic in this regard. I'm also reminded that when politicians of a certai ilk, say the current administration, risk yet again being exposed for their failure to lead and their callous disregard of people of color, and really anyone not them, they like to focus on violence and law and order, and when especially desperate, on guns and Chicago, as happened over this past weekend. It's an easy distraction, without easy answers. We can invest in neglected neighborhoods though and we can pass tougher gun control laws that are actually enforced. These kinds of things call for an national plan though, political will, a cultural shift in terms of how we see guns and enough people with enough power who care about these things to make things happen. None of which currently exists. And so in the chasm between what is needed and what we have, we create art, and in this case, poetry. Big Shoulders Books asked 100 poets across this great, beauitful broken city to come together for a communal poem and say something about this violence and how we live. In doing so they've created a wave of words and rhythm that seeks to make sense of senseless loss and provide a salve for the ongoing pain that is gun violence. Will American Gun solve this problem? I wish, maybe, I don't know. Will it change your life? Most certainly.