Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the block

It's natural, I believe, to feel sadness and anguish over the devastation that has been wrought in Japan. First an earthquake strong enough to shift the Earth on its axis, then a tsunami, and now a potentially devastating radioactive event: how can one hear the news and not be horrified?

It's easy, I think, to imagine that all of those things are so Big and so Bad that mere mortals cannot do anything to ameliorate them. It is also wrong.

There are engineers who work at the nuclear power plant who have stayed there, working to do whatever they can to keep the reactor from blowing. They have said (in so many words) that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to try to prevent a nuclear accident, and it looks as though they are going to succeed in avoiding core meltdowns.

There are people on the ground in Japan, doing what they can to help the living and bury the dead. There are relief workers present trying to establish shelters and distribute food and medical assistance.

And there are people here in the United States and elsewhere around the globe who are doing what they can to try to supply the aid that's needed, whether it's collecting up goods and shipping them directly, sending their own money (I've donated to ShelterBox and to the Red Cross), or doing something to help raise money (like Ryan, that guy I told you about last week, who has already sent $2625 of his own money to the Red Cross, and is on his way to another $600 (or more) if he hits 4 million views on YouTube).

In addition to money, I've decided to donate time and energy. I'm taking part in the Kidlit 4 Japan effort, and my item goes on the block starting at 3 p.m. this afternoon (EDT) and closing on Friday at the same time. I'm offering two poetry critiques of one or more poems totalling as many as 75 lines, free or metred verse, rhyme or not - machs nichts to me. (I ask that if you are intending to use a single poem as a picture book text, that you let me know that, since it involves an additional layer of critique, but otherwise that's a-okay as well.) But wait! There's more! Not only will I critique your poem(s) once, but I will happily give them a second look if you'd like.

I sure hope this item is of interest (and use) to you or someone you know.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this article from The Times of India about haiku related to the disasters in Japan. One of the haiku quoted in the article is from a poet named Kenji, who writes:

Great Wave with bared teeth

Seahorse pinned to barbed wire

May time be greener
I hope you'll check out the items available at the auction. Bids can be placed by leaving a comment to the auction post for the item in which you're interested. Proceeds will be sent to UNICEF to assist with relief efforts in Japan.

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