Robert Hass, Occupy Berkeley & It's "Beat Poets" not "beat poets"

While at my MFA@PLU reunion, I had a few moments to browse blogs and saw on January O'Neil's blog  that Robert Hass, our Poet Laureate from 1995-1997 was hit with a baton by a police officer:

You can read the full article about this on the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog here.

When I saw the video of this, it truly saddened me.  Here is a 71 year old man, a grandfather, an ex-Poet Laureate who ends up being hit basically for standing.  (I learn later his wife Brenda Hillman was knocked to the ground by police while trying to talk to them about peaceful protests.)

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any lawrespecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

If I have to follow the second amendment ("the right to bear arms") - and "bear" is a verb and not a noun, as I would agree to this without question--

Bear Arms would be great in the winter!

Then I'd like our First Amendment rights upheld.

Seeing the video of the students being pepper-sprayed at Berkeley on Friday, I kept thinking, "Those are people's children...those are our children."

Today, an editorial by Robert Hass was published in NY Times "Poet-Bashing Police" about what he saw.

And then the Occupy Berkeley students make me proud with this--

Yes, since they couldn't pitch tent, they put them on helium balloons and floated them above their space (I love creativity!)

But here's the thing--I'm not interested in anyone's opinion on the Occupy movement. I don't want to debate if it's working, if it's right, etc. etc.   I'm interested in how we are responding to these peaceful protests, whether you agree with the movement or not, every time force is used on an American citizen (whether you agree with their opinion or not), you lose too.

We each lose our rights to speak our opinions, to stand up for what we believe in.  Whatever that is.


By the way, I haven't been blogging much about this, but posting links on Facebook and Twitter because it's easier with articles.

So if you want to follow me for further updates--

on Twitter find me at:  kelliagodon

And on Facebook here:
And here: (you don't have to "friend" me, you can follow by way of subscribing (as the kids are doing these days...) )



  1. Hi Kelli
    I read Hass's editorial about this in the NY Times today, and thought it was pretty thoughtful and inspiring.

  2. Agreed. I love Bob! Hope you and Dean are having a lovely Thanksgiving!


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