Rio Grande Valley, Texas

ORGANIZER: Daniel Garcia Ordaz


Poetry Flash Mob: 100 Thousand Poets For Change (Global Event)

Saturday, September 24 · 8:00pm – 10:00pm

McAllen Creative Incubator 

1001 S. 16th Street
McAllen, Texas

Created By

More Info
The Rio Grande Valley will be one of the hosts and participants of the global event, “100 Thousand Poets For Change,” being held simultaneously on Sept. 24 in 650 cities and 95 countries as part of the largest poetry reading in history to promote environmental, social, and political change. 

A “flash mob poetry reading” is planned for 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the McAllen Creative Incubator (1001 S. 16th St., McAllen, Texas.)

Poets reading in the Valley will be focusing on local environmental issues and speaking against the proposed expansion of the Border Wall, which is cutting off access to ecotourism for the region as well as cutting off access to water for ocelots and other felines and other mammals, cactus wrens and other birds, such as chachalacas.

For more information, contact Valley event coordinator Daniel García Ordaz at For information about 100ThousandPoetsForChange visit the site @

    Sacramento, California

    ORGANIZER: Bob Stanley



    DESCRIPTION: Bob Stanley, President of Sacramento Poetry Center and Sacramento Poet Laureate, Cal State Sacramento professor will lead a walk around the Capitol City, with readings taking place along the way, beginning in the Old Rose Garden in Capitol Park

    LOCATION: In Capitol Park located 15th and Capitol streets

    TIME: 1pm kickoff

    South Bend, Indiana

    ORGANIZER: Carina Finn




    Saturday, September 24 · 5:00pm – 8:00pm

    in front of O’Shaughnessy Hall

    Created By

    More Info
    hi friends!

    this saturday is 100,000 poets for change, a really awesome event uniting poets all over the world! I’m putting together a little event for the south bend area, and would love it if as many people as possible could participate! so. here’s the deal:


    the poets & observers are going to meet in front of o’shag at 5 PM. then we shall parade ourselves to the rad little dais up in the woods by the lake with some statues and cool lighting, where we will gather and have ourselves a poetry reading!

    readers: please bring 1-2 poems, either of your own or by someone else, that you would read if asked, in the interview round of a Miss/Mr. Poetry Pageant: “How would you change the world?”

    wear something spiffy. come listen to some poetry. flutter your lyric wings & change the world, butterfly-style.

    PLEASE come. I will love you forever if you do. tell everyone you know!

    If you are willing & able to participate, please e-mail me at OR post on the wall for this event. I know it’s super-short notice but this will be very chill & lots of fun!


    Split This Rock-Washington, DC


    Sarah Browning, Director:

    Split This Rock
    1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20036

    phone 202.787.5210

    100 Thousand Poets for Change, DC: Poetry Walk of Shame

    Saturday, September 24 · 11:00am – 1:00pm

    Meet at the Embassy of Yemen
    2319 Wyoming Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC

    Even while poets in 400 cities in 95 countries are organizing the largest poetry reading in history September 24, poets in too many countries around the world will be silent, out of fear for their safety.

    Join Split This Rock and Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies, as we give voice to some of those poets for one day. We’ll take a short walk to the embassies of three countries — Yemen, Burma, and Turkmenistan — where citizens’ rights of free speech have been suppressed, where poets, writers, and other freedom lovers have been threatened, arrested, and murdered for their words and their activism, and we’ll stand with the poets and writers of those few places where a few hints of openings are lighting the darkness.

    As we stand in witness outside the embassies, we’ll read poems by poets from those nations so that they, too, may participate in 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

    We’ll gather at 11 am at the Yemeni Embassy, 2319 Wyoming Avenue, NW. It’s walking distance from the red line Metro, halfway between the Woodley Park and Dupont Circle stops.

    100 Thousand Poets for Change is the brainchild of Bay Area poet and publisher Michael Rothenberg. Events planned for September 24 range from poetry and peace gatherings in strife-torn Kabul and Jalalabad to 20 collective poetic actions in Mexico City where poets, painters, filmmakers and musicians will spread the word of peace and non-violence throughout the city with day long readings and workshops.

    There are over 270 events in the United States, 29 in India, 7 in Nigeria, 17 in Canada, 19 in Great Britain, 4 in China, with more being added each day.

    All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

    100 Thousand Poets for Change


    Poets Stand Up

    By Sarah Browning, October 12, 2011

    100 Thousand Poets for ChangeIn Paris, poets staged a flash mob outside the Louvre Museum. In North Carolina, they sent poems to their state legislators, calling on them to restore arts education funding to the decimated state budget. In Vancouver, BC, poets cleaned up a beach before their reading. There was a reading in solidarity with the people of Tibet in Pasadena, California, events throughout Mexico City demanding an end to violence, and “an exorcism of fear and helplessness” in Norman, Oklahoma. Poets gathered in Fez, Morocco, and Jalalabad, Afghanistan and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

    All this – and more – made up 100 Thousand Poets for Change on Saturday, September 24, 2011. Poets gathered in over 550 cities in 95 countries to speak out for peace and sustainability. For some poets, it was their first time gathering with an agenda for social change.

    I live in Washington, DC, however, that most political of cities. Poets have been gathering here for years to speak out against war and for a more just world. The organization that I run, Split This Rock, was founded for just this purpose, to call poets to the center of public life. I didn’t want to mark this global occasion, this uprising of the poets, with what for us would be just another reading.

    Walk of Shame

    In a brainstorming conversation, the event organizer, San Francisco poet and publisher Michael Rothenberg, mentioned that he’d begun hearing from poets who would not be participating. “Imagine,” he said. “We’re kicking around all these possibilities and there are place where poets can’t do anything public at all. They’d be arrested – or worse.”

    My brain flashed, as one hopes it will do at moments such as these. “What if we stand outside the embassies of some of those countries and read the silenced poets’ poems so they can be part of 100 Thousand Poets for Change too?”

    The Poetry Walk of Shame was born. We chose three countries with egregious human rights records, from three parts of the world, whose embassies were within walking distance of one another. Sadly, this was not a difficult task. The embassies of Yemen and Burma are tucked into a leafy corner of DC called Kalorama, just northwest of Dupont Circle. And just downhill, on a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue known as Embassy Row, stands an unprepossessing row house, the embassy of Turkmenistan. Not only do these countries routinely fall in the “Not Free” column produced annually by Freedom House, but two of them – Yemen and Turkmenistan – are U.S. allies, partners in the so-called Global War on Terror. This would give us the opportunity to call our own government to account for supporting regimes that routinely suppress one of our own most cherished rights, the right to free expression.

    Next, we set about finding poems to read. Burma and Yemen were easy. A fine Burmese poet-in-exile, and FPIF contributor, Kyi May Kaung, lives in the DC area. She immediately accepted my invitation to read her own poems at her country’s US headquarters.

    Searching the web, I found that the UK literary journal, Banipal, had published a special issue dedicated to Yemeni literature in translation. Several poems from the issue, by Mohammad al-Qaood and Shawqi Shafiq, were perfect for our purposes and had the added benefit of having been translated from the Arabic by Iraqi poet and New York University professor Sinan Antoon, a Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2010 featured poet. I invited the locally based Lebanese poet Zein El-Amine to read the poems at the Yemeni embassy.

    The Problem of Turkmenistan

    Turkmenistan, a closed country, was another story. For many years, the previous dictator allowed the publication of only books by a single Turkmen author, his own.

    No one on the U.S. or international translator networks my colleague Yvette Neisser Moreno belongs to translates from the Turkmen or knows anyone who does. We found a website in English devoted to the 18th century poet Makhtumkuli, considered the national poet of Turkmenistan. We figured one of his poems might work on the Walk, but it was a far cry from a contemporary poet writing under duress or in the ache of exile, as was the case with our other poets.

    Meanwhile, we were proceeding, with the help of FPIF/IPS, alerting the media and spreading the word. I was about to start looking for Uzbek or Kyrgyz poems, figuring that neighboring human rights violators could represent the whole region in a pinch.

    Then one morning less than a week before September 24, I received a phone call from a correspondent of Radio Free Europe-Turkmenistan, stationed in Vienna. During our interview I had to admit to having a hard time finding poems in English by Turkmen poets. I might also have admitted (but didn’t) that previous to organizing this event I knew next to nothing about his country and that I chose it as a target in part because its embassy was only a short walk from that of Burma. “I am a Turkmen poet,” Yovshan Annagurban replied. “And I have translated some of my poems into English.”

    And just like that, the Walk ceased to be primarily an organizing challenge and came alive. Yovshan sent me the link to his piece, in Turkmen, and it suddenly seemed possible that poets locked inside the country might learn what we were doing, might draw a bit of strength from it. What more could a poet-activist hope to achieve?

    Yovshan also sent a few of his poems and one he had translated by Annasoltan Kekilova, who’d died in a psychiatric hospital during the Soviet era. (This continues to be a favorite tactic of the Turkmen despots, scooping up dissidents and squirreling them away in psychiatric hospitals. You can read about recent cases here.) But the Turkmen government has sealed the country so effectively that human rights organizations have very little access. As Amnesty Internationalsays in one of a handful of documents about the country on their site, “Only a fraction of cases involving human rights violations come to the attention of human rights observers.” And indeed, how often do we see news of Turkmenistan in the Western media?

    Expanding to Bahrain

    The day before the Walk I got another startling call, this one from the overall event organizer Michael Rothenberg. He told me he’d heard from a poet in Bahrain, another U.S. ally brutally repressing its people. Just this year, in fact, a young poet, Ayat Al-Gormezi, had been arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for reading a pro-democracy poem at a peaceful demonstration in Bahrain. International pressure resulted in her release, but not before she’d been tortured and not before the message had been sent to the country’s writers and activists to keep their mouths shut.

    Despite the risks, he and his fellow poets were meeting – in secret – the Bahraini poet told Michael. They had read about the DC poets’ Walk on the web. Would we be willing to read in front of their embassy, too, in solidarity with their clandestine gathering? How could we say no?

    The Walk itself was a powerful act of witnessing, each embassy shuttered, the streets quiet. We handed out poems to those few who walked by and we honored the voices of the brave poets laboring under the most difficult of circumstances. When we were done, three of us drove to the Bahraini embassy and stood in front of a fence at a desolate, isolated spot, where I read Ayat Al-Gormezi’s words of defiance.

    “Thanks a lot dear American friends,” wrote Desperate Turkmen in a comment on the RFE article. “I really appreciate your kindness. One Turkmen poet says that if a poet will kneel, his countrymen will be slaves.”


    Key Largo, Florida

    ORGANIZER: David Gitin and Gloria Avner



    David and I volunteered to co-ordinate the gathering in Key Largo, and Maryann volunteered to host us at her Tarpon Basin dock.  We will sing our Navajo “oh-wah-nah-yah” song, say the Apache “beauty way” blessing, invite you to read a poem, sing a song, or play your instrument; and as the sun goes down, Maryann will blow her conch. We’d love to see you there. 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Musical instruments welcome.

    Join Us


    Gloria and David

    Dear Michael and world-wide co-participants,

    We loved joining with you.

    There is a core group of friends in Key Largo who have celebrated Full Moons, New Moons, Equinoxes, and Solstices for years. A wonderful group answered the call to gather as part of the “Key Largo” portion of “100,000 Poets for Change.” They arrived at 6 pm with drums, rattles, conch shell trumpet, and loving excited intent at Tarpon Basin Dock, a peaceful wooden pier with a thatched-roof covered “cheekee” (Seminole building), extending into the Gulf of Mexico.

    One hour before sunset, we began. A circle of women and one man (David Gitin, organizer of this event) gathered in a circle to sing a Navajo honoring song to the sun. With hand gestures and full voice we sang:

    “Oh wah nah yah, ku wah nah yah, tsu wah nah yah, ooh wah nah yah.
    Oh wah, ku wah, tsu wah, ooh wah; nah yah.”

    Four times we raised our hands to the sun and lowered them to the sea; four times we swept our arms from East to West and in each of the cardinal directions and chanted our gratitude for the sun’s power to warm us, heal us, and make us and all life grow.

    Then we recited the Apache “Beauty Way Blessing,” again using our arms and hands to indicate directions:

    With Beauty before me, my future is bright and beautiful.
    With Beauty behind me, my past is bright and beautiful; I forgive everyone and everyone forgives me.
    With Beauty above me, I have all the guidance I need.
    With Beauty below me, I have all the support I need.
    May I walk in Beauty all the days of my life, and may every step I take this day be a blessing upon the earth, upon myself, and all I meet. Kadiishteh!

    This was a group in touch with and grateful for the blessings of nature and the presence of Spirit. We talked about the gift and power of humility, about gratitude for the natural world. In myriad languages, in song and poetry, with instruments and without, we took turns around the circle. Two of the women are Sun Dancers. One is a Lakota pipe-carrier and Sweat-lodge Waterpourer. Three are singers of devotional songs. Several are artists as well as singers and poets. David, a nationally known poet, has just come out with his 10th book of poetry. All of us in that circle know that true, lasting, and meaningful change comes only from within, and that expressing gratitude is a powerful force.

    David read from his new book of poems, “The Journey Home.” Gloria read a poem of Frank Parker’s, a friend who lives 2000 miles away in Tucson and is staying positive through poetry as he prepares to transition from this plane, still writing while adjusting to hospice care. The Sun Dancers sang their special thank you songs to Wakan Tonka, Great Spirit. Others both sang and recited their own poetry, including one spelling out the traits of her desired beloved: “I Want A Man to Call Me Babe.”

    We laughed a lot. And trilled our primal ululation across the waters. Maryann blew her conch shell three times to mark the setting of the sun on this day of equal dark and light. In balance and beauty, we finished our event standing in circle, looking into each others eyes, singing a final song:

    There is only one of us.
    In your eyes it’s me I see.
    There is only one of us.
    You are my reflection.
    There is only one.


    Thanks for making this up Michael. We had a wonderful time, enhanced of course by knowing that people all over the world were celebrating in their own ways with their own words. We are not technologically facile however. This description and the photos attached, as well as the previously submitted flier, make up our total documentation gift to you, which you of course may upload any time any way you wish.

    Whether you had 10,000 participants or 100,000, I am sure you have broken all records for a spoken (and sung) word event. Congratulations. We enjoyed sharing it with you.

    All our best,

    Gloria Avner, David Gitin and friends

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    ORGANIZER: Kris Bigalk


    ORGANIZER: Paula Cisewski


    Dear Twin Cities’ poet friends and compatriots,

    My husband Jack & I would like to invite you to come on over to our humble home with a 3-4 minute poem to read and an idea you’d like to share about change so that we can film you, collect all the videos on a blog commemorating the day, and discuss how we’d like to celebrate this event more publically in future years. Please look below for a time slot that might suit you and let us know which, but feel free to come and visit! We have a moon labyrinth to walk and much good will.

    We will have a constant flow of coffee and lemonade, as well as some light snacks. Feel free, too, to bring a dish or a beverage to pass.

    Recording Schedule (I will keep this as up to date as I am able! Also, please know this isn’t a perfect system. Neither my personal email nor my facebook contacts is a perfect system. If I’ve omitted somebody, please let me know!)

    12:00 Jeffrey Skemp

    12:15 Paula Cisewski

    12:30 Elisabeth Workman

    12:45 Kris Bigalk

    1:00 Lynette Reini-Grandell


    1:30 Heid Erdrich

    1:45 Robert Grunst

    2:00 Matt Mauch

    2:15 John Colburn

    2:30 Sarah Fox

    2:45 Dobby Gibson

    3:00 Kelly Everding

    3:15 Eric Lorberer

    3:30 Wendy Brown-Baez

    3:45 Anh-Hoa Nguyen

    4:00 Steve Healey

    4:15 Luke Pingel


    4:45 Maria Damon

    5:00 Tammy Wenberg

    5:15 Haley Lache

    5:30 Laura Brandenburg


    All best,

    Paula & Jack

    Phoenix, Arizona

    ORGANIZER: Amy Ouzoonian



    Saturday, September 24 · 7:00pm – 11:30pm

    901 N 5th St.
    Phoenix, AZ

    Created By
    Amy Ouzoonian

    More Info
    Sept. 24th, I will be hosting a huge event that is part of the 100,000 poets for change event, happening worldwide, which is organized by Michael Rothenberg

    This event will support poetry and poets and poems but, in the spirit of being an Anti-Slam, if you’d like to play a song, do an interpretive dance, tell a story, be a fabulous acrobat, or whatever you like, you are very welcome to do so.

    What is an Anti-slam?

    An anti-slam is an all inclusive art event that was created many years ago by artist and patron saint of the uncool Rev. Jen Miller in New York City’s Lower East Side. The Anti-slam welcomes all members of the artists community and supporters of artists. This is how it goes:
    – You Sign up
    – Three audience members volunteer to be judges (those judges give everyone who comes up to perform a 10)
    -perform anything you like for 6 minutes or less (I will have a timer)
    – You get three 10s from the judges and everyone has a great time!

    Here’s some more info about anti-slam:

    This event is BYOB. $5 suggested donation. So come on by and check it out, see what all the buzz is about, read a poem, do a dance, sing a song have a jammin time!

    Sign up is at 7 pm, starts at 7:30 pm

    See you there!