Thursday, 12 September 2013

DRONING ON

David Shook - poet, editor, translator, publisher, genius - is looking to fundraise $6,500--now tax deductible through his fiscal sponsor--to buy a drone--specifically the SteadiDrone H6X RTF, made in South Africa--that he will then drop poems from. He has commissioned a wide range of poets from around the world, as he is also planning to publish an anthology of the poems he drops. Here is a piece he wrote about the project for Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-shook/the-poetry-drone_b_3456221.html

Here are the basics:

The Poetry Drone re-appropriates Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology to drop poem-bombs, featuring specially commissioned poems by leading US and world poets, in an effort bring the US military's covert drone operations into the spotlight to promote discussion, humanize its victims, and explore the political responsibility of poets, artists, and citizens.

Now that the breeze has learnt to write
She can choose to rewrite autumn as spring
     --"The Breeze Rewrites," by Noshi Gillani, Pakistan, tr. Lavinia
Greenlaw, for the Poetry Translation Centre

The US military has tested unmanned aerial vehicles since 1917, but began using drones to target and kill suspected terrorists under George W. Bush in 2004. Drone strikes have increased substantially under President Obama: the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that there have been 369 drone strikes in Pakistan alone, killing roughly 2,500 to 3,500 people, including at least 168 children and 400 - 900 civilians. Under the Obama administration at least 4 American citizens have been killed by drone strikes.

The Poetry Drone will appear at literary and arts events around the world, with a complete schedule to be released shortly after successful project funding. In addition to its live poetry actions, the Poetry Drone project will publish an anthology of the poems that will be dropped from the drone, available in December 2013. A short documentary feature will be produced to showcase the project's development from idea to physical object to interactive poetry experience.

Inspirations: Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, who wrote his poems in the sky over Queens and in the deserts of Atacama, the Casagrande Collective, which has dropped poems by helicopter over cities that have suffered airstrikes, American poet Michael Robbins' "To the Drone Vaguely Realizing Eastward" Pakistani poets like Noshi Gillani and Kishwar Naheed, committed journalists and organizations like the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, and socially engaged poets from around the world.

What the media has to say:

"There are several poetry projects on offer on Kickstarter, the crowd-sourcing site popular with artists and other dreamers. Most involve organizing readings and publishing first books and anthologies. The poet David Shook is much more ambitious than that."
Los Angeles Times

"Roughly 50 years after a young protester placed a single flower into the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle a California poet is turning again to flower power — and drones — to protest war." —New York Daily News

"[We] can all probably agree that the idea alone is louder than a Hellfire missile." —Vice

"Drones have an image problem. The Obama administration has tarnished their reputation with the deadly drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen, which have racked up untold civilian deaths.... Now one L.A.-based poet wants to use drones for a literary cause. David Shook, also a translator and filmaker, wants to create the world's first Poetry Drone." —GOOD

"zany, brilliant, ... [apparently legal]" —Eyewear

"It’s a contemporary act of prophecy, though it professes no religious affiliation." —antler

There's a video and more links at the failed Kickstarter page:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shookshookshook/the-poetry-drone
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