Kris Beaver: “On Monday this week, I came across an article in my former hometown paper. The mayor of Walla Walla, Washington, declared June 2019 as its first Gay Pride Month. Bravo! I thought back on the amazing gay friends I’d been lucky to have growing up in that beautiful and wonderful small town in the late ’60s and early ’70s. We had fun, but my gay friends endured bullying, harassment and even assault. It seemed almost accepted. I knew of some of the trauma they endured. I’m sure much has changed since I moved away over 40 years ago. Although it’s terrific news Walla Walla is finally honoring their LGBTQ citizens, how awful that it’s taken fifty years. This response poem weaves the truth of several friends’ stories. There is some poetic enhancement and names were changed. There were many caring teachers, students and community members in Walla Walla who would never behave as described in this poem. Some just remained silent when witnessing the oppression. The title refers to a saying some folks use when starting to defend their inaction on behalf of the mistreated. I love so much about Walla Walla. I was blessed to have kind, creative, brave, open-minded and delightfully funny friends growing up there. I am so pleased the community is working on social justice and celebrating diversity.”
This week’s Rattlecast features 2008 Rattle Poetry Prize winner Joseph Fasano, plus open lines. Fasano is the author of four books of poetry and a recent novel, and is founder of the Poem for You series, a digital space offering recitations of listeners’ favorite poems by request. Tanner Stening also joins us to discuss the Overview Effect on Poets Respond Live.
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