Off the Page And On Your Feet: Moving To The Rhythms of Labor Poetry

Presented by Joanne Rocky Delaplaine and Darryl! Moch

Activism and activists thrive in a community of kindred spirits. It takes courage to speak truth to power. Like laughter, courage is contagious, and can and should be cultivated, nurtured and passed along. Poetry is a potent form of truth telling, and as long as there has been poetry there have been labor poets.

In this workshop, we will choose a few great labor poems (and if time, write some of our own) and then combine these words with breath, tone of voice, gesture, expression, and shared movement. When we stand, move and speak mighty truths using the medium of poetry, we embody courage and become its transmitter.

In the places of my boyhood
The pit-wheels turn no more,
Nor any furnace lightens
The midnight as of yore.

The slopes of slag and cinder
Are sulking on the rain,
And in derelict valleys
The hope of youth is slain.

And yet I love to wander
The early ways I went,
And watch from doors amd bridges
The hills and skies of Gwent.

Though blighted be the valleys
Where man meets man with pain,
The things by boyhood cherished
Stand firm, and shall remain.

Idris Davies
from Gwalia Deserta 1938