A powerful call to end American gun violence from celebrated poets and those most impacted, including a foreword by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly and an introduction by Colum McCann, published on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Focused intensively on the crisis of gun violence in America, this volume brings together poems by dozens of our best-known poets, including Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Natalie Diaz, Martín Espada, Robert Hass, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Brenda Hillman, Natasha Threthewey and Juan Felipe Herrera.
Each poem is followed by a response from a gun violence prevention activist, political figure, survivor, or concerned individual, including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams, Senator Christopher Murphy, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, survivors of the Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston Emmanuel AME, and Virginia Tech shootings, and Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir, and Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis.
The result is a stunning collection of poems and prose that speak directly to the heart; a persuasive and moving testament to the urgent need for gun control.
Introduction by Andre Dubus III
Scheduled Poets and Guests:
Editors Brian Clements, Dean Rader, Alexandra Teague
Poets: Martín Espada, Jill McDonough, and Rebecca Morgan Frank
Scheduled Citizen Responders in attendance: Aimee Tavares ( National Organizing Director for Moms Demand Action), Abbey Clements (Second-Grade Teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, and Gun Violence Prevention Activist), Clai Lasher-Sommers (Fellow of Everytown for Gun Safety), Joe Quint (Photographer and Curator of “It Takes Us”), and Dr. William Begg (emergency doctor on duty at Sandy Hook shootings).
“Survivors, advocates, and allies can change hearts and minds—and move more people to join our fight for solutions—by telling stories about the irreparable damage that gun violence does to families and communities across the country.”
—From the Foreword by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly
“The aim of this anthology—so ably and passionately put together by the editors—is to try to shift the nature of the debate around guns and give voice to the effect of violence in a manner that isn’t always associated with the poetic.”
—From the Introduction by Colum McCann
About the Editors:
Brian Clements is the author of multiple books, most recently A Book of Common Rituals, and editor of An Introduction to the Prose Poem. He lives in Newtown, Connecticut, where his wife, a teacher, survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography, winner of the California Book Award for Poetry, and The Wise and Foolish Builders. Alexandra is an associate professor of poetry at the University of Idaho.
Dean Rader is the author of Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry and editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry. He lives in San Francisco.
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly: Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence, protect responsible gun ownership, and make communities safer. Congresswoman Giffords was shot in 2011 during a “Congress on Your Corner” event while representing Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District.
Colum McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories, including TransAtlantic, Let the Great World Spin, and Thirteen Ways of Looking. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. His work has been published in over 35 languages. He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, which is committed to supporting Bullets into Bells. He teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College. He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their three children.