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I believe poetry can change the world.  Like any art form, the practice of poetry demands disciplined effort and a desire to express the truth of our human condition.  I write socially engaged poetry because I feel that is a roll I can fulfill in my community and most of my own work is written to be performed.  This doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t also write for the page or that I don’t appreciate other kinds of work.  I see poetry as an umbrella large enough to shelter a nearly infinite variety of writers.  All that is required of the poet is a facility leading to a deep understanding of language and a commitment to sincerity.  A stout heart doesn’t hurt either.

In many cultures the poet is a revered figure who is counted on to put the thoughts and the hopes of people into words.  I hope my work will give voice to my listeners and urge them to find common ground; to bring them to the realization we are all in this life together.

Will the Poets Keep Quiet?

They will not.
The will not linger in the gloaming they will not idle in the daybreak they
will not drowse at noon.

The poets will speak.
They will whisper to their lovers they will talk among themselves they will
relate and orate and berate.

They will traverse to converse and scramble to gabble.

They will stop and chat about this and that they will discuss what is old hat
they will rhyme and keep time.

The poets will speak.
They will scurry to the dais they will lean upon the lectern they will hold
forth in the hall.

They will hit and miss and flail and fail they will proclaim and declaim and
defame and inflame.

The poets will pounce to pronounce they will praise and amaze they will
search their souls for days.

The poets will not keep quiet.
The poets will speak.

Judy Bernhard is a voice packed with both insight and irony in the face of social and political injustice, and a deeply compassionate humor that belongs with the people of the world suffering under its current reign of corporate fascism.

​- Jack Hirschman, 2014

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