The Common Good
July-August 2003

A Few of My Favorite Things

by Demetria Martinez | July-August 2003

The New World, by George Evans. In times like these I savor
poetry that is prophecy, that moves nimbly between denunciation and annunciation.

The New World, by George Evans. In times like these I savor poetry that is prophecy, that moves nimbly between denunciation and annunciation. Evans served as a medic during the American war in Vietnam. In a poem titled "A Walk in the Garden of Heaven: A Letter to Vietnam," he writes: "We can't afford to heal. If we do, we'll forget, and if we forget, it will start again." Yet in the same poem, he observes: "There are so many wasted lives between us that only beauty makes sense." This great beauty of a book will nourish all who struggle to "make sense" out of war by opposing it—and imagining alternatives for a new world.

Democracy Now. Where would we be without Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Pacifica radio, who take "exception to the rulers" with devastating exposés of government and corporate evildoing? Tuning in each day I feel like I'm sitting in on a global teach-in. With Goodman as our host, we study the latest horror, then share stories about what we the people are doing to rectify it, from demonstrating to whistle-blowing to promoting sustainable ways to live on the planet. Democracy Now is essential to the formation of a global citizenry.

White Sands: The Book of War. Poem by Douglas Kent Hall, music by Devon Hall. This CD is based on three sounds: the Japanese flute, drums, and the voice of Douglas Kent Hall, who reads what will surely prove to be one of the greatest anti-war poems of the contemporary peace movement. Hall, a writer and photographer, based his poem on photographs he took of the beautiful landscape of White Sands, New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was exploded. "White the Christianity of war," Hall recites. "White the Judaism of war./White the Mohammedanism of war./White the government of war./White the Bible of sand." E-mail for ordering information.

When I Look Into the Mirror and See You: Women, Terror, and Resistance, by Margaret Randall. Through testimony and historical narrative, author and activist Randall tells how human rights activists Nora Miselem of Honduras and Maria Suárez Toro of Costa Rica survived "disappearance," imprisonment, and torture in Honduras in the early 1980s. Their strategies included foiling their captors by exploiting the men's deepest fears and prejudices about women's bodies. Their story lends a whole new meaning to the cry "sisterhood is powerful." I couldn't put the book down; it left me feeling strong and hopeful. Rutgers University Press.

Demetria Martinez's books include a novel set during the sanctuary movement,

Mother Tongue (Ballantine). Her latest collection of poetry is The Devil's Workshop (University of Arizona Press). A resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, she writes a column for the National Catholic Reporter and teaches workshops on writing for social change.
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