It's the end of the semester at FIT. Immersed in final grades and end-of-semester tasks as Chairperson of English and Communication Studies, I was trying to bask a bit in the launch of an exhibition of student projects, Communicating Climate Change, the fruits of two years of labor. But then, over the weekend, I read a December 15 Washington Post article about a directive given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the article, official documents being prepared by the CDC for their 2018 budget were not to contain the words "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based," or "science-based."
On December 16, my friend, poet Sarah Freligh, posted a writing challenge to her Facebook friends: “Write a sestina using six of the prohibited words, the seventh as your title.” To say the unsayable, as if were, and what better way to say the words than in a repetitive form like the sestina?
I idly posted a comment, “We need an anthology!” Sarah challenged me to edit one, and I declined but instead created a WordPress site – The CDC Poetry Project. Starting this week, we’re actively soliciting poems that say the seven words and do so in a way that speaks truth to power.
Go to our Submission Guidelines for details!