Sunday, January 12, 2003

Up in balmy Key West, Derek Walcott's been doing more than just reading from his latest work in progress:

Concern over possible United States action against Iraq tinted the 21st Key West Literary Seminar, and that prompted writers and poets involved in the event to sign a statement entitled "Poets for Peace." Seminar Board of Directors Chairman Irving Weinman, flanked by some of the nation's most recognized poets, read the statement aloud while framed by the backdrop of St. Paul's Church Saturday afternoon.

The statement reads as follows: "We the poets and writers of the 21st Key West Literary Seminar urge the United States Administration not to engage in an aggressive first strike against Iraq. Such a war would be unjust and result in the murder of innocents. We further urge the United States Administration to work towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as only this will generate justice in the Middle East and stability in the world."

The statement is affirmed by 31 poets and writers, including Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize winner for Literature; Richard Wilbur, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner; Billy Collins, United States Poet Laureate; and Lucille Clifton and Robert Creeley, Chancellors of the American Academy of Poets.

(Read the full report on

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