Poetry bombs, in Berlin and L.A.

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Chilean art collective Casagrande dropped 100,000 bookmarks printed with poems from a helicopter over Berlin on Saturday night. The works were by 80 poets from Chile and Germany, and the poetry bombing was meant as an action to protest war and support peace. The group has done this before, the Guardian reports:

It was the fifth ‘poetry rain’ project from Chilean art collective Casagrande, which has arranged previous poetry bombing events in Santiago de Chile (2001), Dubrovnik (2002), Gernika (2004) and Warsaw (2009) -- all cities which, like Berlin, have suffered aerial bombings during their history. ...The Berlin project, for which Casagrande worked with Literaturwerkstatt Berlin as part of the Long Night of Museums, took place in the city’s Lustgarten, where a crowd of thousands had gathered to hear readings and performances by Latin American artists.


Los Angeles has its own poetry bomb -- in the possession of S.A. Griffin, longtime actor and beat poet. Griffin bought an empty 7-foot-long practice bomb on Craigslist and called for poems to fill it. People donated money on Kickstarter to give it a paint job, and this summer, Griffin took it on a five-week U.S. tour. He told the Alibi, the Albuquerque alt weekly, that a bomb filled with poems is about disagreeing, peacefully:

I absolutely do not agree with everything that’s inside the bomb. I’m not supposed to. There are many different ideas, cultures, backgrounds, religions and poetry styles represented. So that’s exactly what it’s for. It’s not for us to agree, it’s for us to disagree and agree to disagree peacefully so we can move ahead together -- regionally, nationally and globally.

That was back in spring, when the poetry bomb contained more than 400 poems; Griffin says it could take up to 400 more. Got a poem for the bomb? Reach him through this Facebook page.

-- Carolyn Kellogg