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The Wrath of Coach Pop: Poetic Politics from Coach Greg Popovich With Jim Moreno
A lifetime love of basketball and sports blended with artivist (artist & activist) Jim Moreno’s social justice leanings prepared him to respect Coach Greg Popovich’s outrage at some of our nation’s leaderlessness and insouciance to suffering and injustice. Coach Popovich broke ranks with staying silent in many press conferences after games to denounce injustice, the murdering of our children in our schools, and power’s reluctance to challenge the status quo on military assault rifles. A basketball coach, he didn’t talk about his team’s loss in one press conference, Coach Pop addressed the cowardliness and selfishness of legislators who shy away from gun control legislation so as not to lose votes and paychecks.
How does this poetry class for beginning or seasoned poets inspire participants to write original political poems. Moreno answers, “There are more of us like Coach Pop who are sick and tired of the carnage. There are more of us that would like to find a language to speak out against the greed that robs families of their children, of their children’s lives. I can teach anyone to write poetry from this genre by following the wisdom of those on whose shoulders we stand, poets who came before us.” Audre Lorde said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less & less important whether I am afraid.” June Jordan said, “To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself. And that’s political, in the most profound way… Poetry is a political act because it involves telling the truth.” Or President Kennedy, who quoted poet Robert Frost, when he said, “When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”
This three-hour class for beginning or seasoned poets will be divided into two ninety-minute segments. The first segment includes poetry prompts and film clips from some poets who resonate with Coach Pop: local poet Alfred Williams, Joe Milosch, and Rudy Francisco. We’ll also review some of Coach Pop’s press conferences as well as press conferences of Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors. The second segment will include some national and international poets like Robert Bly, June and Audre, Sandra Cisneros, and Pablo Neruda. The poets chosen from these two segments will include the above poets and poets who are inspirational in the hopes that class participants will also be inspired to write original poems in a Container of respect and dignity, no matter the culture or color of skin.
We stand on the shoulders of June Jordan when we live and write from her quote: “What’s important about poetry in the context of leadership is that most of the time, power has to do with dominance. But poetry is never about dominance. Poetry is powerful but it cannot even aspire to dominate anyone. It means making a connection. That’s what it means.”