The Opposite of Hate

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For a direct response to the events in Charlottesville, see Dodge President and CEO Chris Daggett’s blog.

As a team of poets who have read, written and presented poetry throughout our lives, we believe it can do the opposite of hate speech: poetry can put us directly inside someone else’s state of mind, perspective and emotions. Poetry increases our ability to understand someone else’s experience, and, as a result, expands our capacity for compassion.

When we worry that we may not be up to the challenges before us, we can think of the poets, writers, actors, artists, and musicians who have endured terrible hardships and, instead of bringing more suffering into the world, chose to bring art. We can think of teachers, nurses, physical therapists, counselors and other care-givers that we’ve met, some who suffered abuse themselves, who have dedicated their lives to nurturing, supporting and healing. They confront human frailty every day, and do it with gentleness and compassion; these brave people remind us that whatever happens, our responses can be destructive or creative.

Assembled by the Dodge Poetry staff, here are some reminders of what we can do when we choose the latter:

To Live in the Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldúa

On the Gallows Once by Kofi Awoonor

Poem Resisting Arrest by Kyle Dargan (video)

from The Black Maria by Aracelis Girmay

Remember by Joy Harjo

Frederick Douglass by Robert Hayden

Black Confederate Ghost Story by Terrance Hayes

Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

male bonding by Quraysh Ali Lansana

Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limón

For the Confederate Dead by Kevin Young

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