What Do Poetry and Police Brutality Have In Common?

Today, these words opened Nicole Brodeur’s column in The Seattle Times:

Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata starts every meeting of the Public Safety, Civil Rights & Arts Committee with a poetry reading.

It’s his attempt to get people to think beyond agendas both paper and personal — and to remember the art of civil communication.

Especially when the topic is as volatile as public safety.

Today’s poem better be a doozy. The Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) is to present its annual findings on how Seattle police are doing their jobs.

Someone handed this article to my wife this afternoon… right before she walked into the City Council chambers to read one of her poems to the committee and the assembly.

The person introducing her addressed the crowd of irritable Seattle citizens and said, “I don’t know if you’ve seen today’s paper or not. If you have, let me assure you… this poem IS a doozy.”

Anne made it through the reading with flying colors, and received a warm ovation.

I’m so proud of her.

 

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Laura

    What, pray tell, was that doozy of a poem?

    • Jeffrey Overstreet

      Let me see if I can coax Anne into sharing it with us. Or perhaps it’s one that’s published in her book… I’ll let you know.

      • Jeffrey Overstreet

        Aha… it was a poem called “Shade Half Drawn,” and it’s included in Anne’s first published collection: Delicate Machinery Suspended.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Nice to know you’re here! Didn’t know they HAD Internet up there in the frozen wastes of Alaska!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Jeff, We’re proud of her too. Geoff and Melody.


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