Poet's Choice by Julie Carr
This poem is the 23rd "note" in my book, "100 Notes on Violence." At this
moment in the sequence I wanted to be very explicit about my intentions and about the source of those intentions. The book grew out of my increasing resistance to representations of and information about domestic, local and intimate violence. As a mother and citizen, I found myself growing less and less able to tolerate images or texts about violence, especially when that violence was aimed at children. Having recently moved to Colorado, I was extremely aware of the Columbine Massacre, and aware of my inability to think about that event and all comparable events directly. This felt like cowardice to me. I felt I needed to find a way, through my work, to confront these fears and resistances and to examine with as much depth and breadth as I could conjure the existence of violence as a fact of our collective identity. I wanted to move not toward
acceptance, but toward awareness and acknowledgment. The final line of this poem is especially important because writing this book made me more aware of my own potential for violence - it made me aware that violence does not belong outside of us, but lives within any of us as a possibility. The book is therefore finally not about other people's violence, but about our collective culpability.
The idea to write a book "about" violence. "What kind?"
"The close-up kind."
Because I cannot write the words "school shootings"
into the little search box.
Later I hear that whatever you write into the little
search box will somewhere
be recorded as data in order to better sell you.
What does the person searching school shootings want to
I keyed "guns" instead, but I don't want to buy a gun.
I could buy a gun.
Julie Carr is the author of "Mead: An Epithalamion," "Equivocal," "100 Notes on Violence," published by Ahsahta Press, and the forthcoming "Sarah--of Fragments and Lines," which will be out from Coffee House Press in September. She teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and is the co-publisher of Counterpath Press.
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