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Published on Dec 10, 2011
In the 1970s I wrote a series of 22 agitational poems for social change, brief public poems that I stenciled on walls with spray paint, printed as silk-screened broadside posters plastered on walls with wheat paste, and a billboard erected on an approach to the Bay Bridge. After that the poetry series transformed into longer agitational poems that I read in public places, such as the flea market, as well as the usual poetry venues. When the political climate of the 1980s and '90s became less open to political poetry, I turned to other forms of writing and activism. I became an historian of cooperatives and cooperation, a community activist involved with industrial land struggles and the struggles of indigenous people, and a woodworker. As renewed activism and a new generation of social justice visionaries emerge today, I am offering these Wall Poems, a few of them dating back to my original 22 poems, and some new poems, dedicated to the continuing struggle for social justice and community healing.