Frank hosted S.A. Griffin and the Poetry Bomb tonight at SPC. S.A. is one of the friendliest and most gracious people I've ever met. His wife and son were also present, as were many people from the community. S.A. said at the beginning of the event that tonight was about poetry and that the Poetry Bomb was a way to turn this item from destruction to construction. He's nearing the end of five weeks of touring the country with the bomb and will be in Nevada City tomorrow.
Where did the idea come from? He didn't credit any one thing. He just wanted to put poetry in a bomb. His search began. It wasn't as easy to locate a bomb these day as it had been for the hippies who used to find them in the desert and smoke them, he told a full house. He searched various computer sites, finally locating a bomb on Craigslist on November 3. The guy selling the bomb even delivered it to S.A. The guy, S.A. told us, wanted to meet the buyer and wanted something creative done with it. Well, I think S.A. succeeded. The bomb is gorgeous. He spent a great deal of time telling us about the bomb, which is from the 1970 Vietnam era and was a practice bomb. He left the dents and and dings and scars, including the bullet hole near the top.
He said that he hopes to foster disagreements because "agreements come from disagreements." The bomb holds more than 400 poems (plus ashes from 4 humans and 2 dogs) from all over the world, including some from convicts and ex-convicts and people from different religions. He doesn't see the Poetry Bomb as being anti-war because that is too limiting. He said that there is "nothing more activist that you can do except be a poet."
He talked about the opening of the bomb and that this is The Only Poetry Bomb.
Frank asked what symbolism means to S.A., and he responded that they are very important to him and that the "bomb is one of the most iconic symbols of the 20th century."
Once he finished speaking about the project and the bomb, he had people read either poems that were already in the bomb or poems that they were going to have placed in the bomb. Readers were: John Bell, Frank Dixon-Graham, JoAnn Anglin, Kirk Parker, Trina Drotar, B.L. Kennedy, S.A.'s wife, Lorraine (she read the official Poetry Bomb poem written by Ellyn Maybe, the poet laureate of the Poetry Bomb), Robert Roden, S.A.'s son, Spencer, Strider the Shadow Maker, Genelle Chaconas, Lob Instagon, Allegra Silberstein, and Crawdad Nelson. S.A. will scan and catalog all of the poems from this evening and the sign up list and place them in the bomb.
What will he do with the bomb? Well, suggestions included (rather passionately) the Smithsonian and a website. The project is not about ego. If he had the money, he'd like to send it to space a la Hunter S. Thompson.
S.A. read a selection of poems that were in the bomb and others that were his own. Among those he read were one from Sacramento's own, Annie Mennebroker and a nine-year boy who wrote a poem about his dying grandfather.
He ended the event singing a poem that he had written and given to a musician friend, Carolyn Edwards.
If you want to submit a poem, you may send it to: S.A. Griffin / P.O. Box 29171 / Los Angeles, CA 90029-0171.