Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Art of Peace

The following message is from our good friend, Marian Haddad:

Hello friends,

Considering all the work H. Palmer Hall has done in the literary world and in speaking for peace, which includes writing about Iraq and the unthinkable murder/hate crime of James Byrd, Jr. among other important subjects which include his experiences in Vietnam, the recognition in receiving this award is highly deserved as Hall's entire mentality and the work that stems from it are steeped in and work towards the possibilities of peace.

"Out of the wreckage of America's failed war in Vietnam, H. Palmer Hall has fashioned poems of quiet beauty and supple strength. There are no pretensions here, no posturing, but only the hard-earned wisdom of a gentle heart and a bedrock decency, making it possible to believe that, in spite of everything, we still have reason to hope." --W.D. Ehrhart, essayist, novelist, poet and a protestor of the Vietnam war

The following invitation is issued by St. Mary's University and The President's Peace Commission. The award presentation will take place this Thursday, February 28th at 3:30.

Please join the President's Peace Commission as we honor the
2008 Art of Peace Award winner:

H. Palmer Hall Ph.D.

The Commission will honor Dr. Hall on
Thursday, February 28, 2008, 3:30- 5pm, at Java City.
(Rain Site: Alkek Atrium)

Dr. Hall has been the Director of the Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary's University since the late 1970's. He has run Pecan Grove Press, which has a significant presence on the university campus and the nation, for over seventeen years. The press, under his leadership and foresight, has attained a national and international reputation for publishing strong books of poetry from new and emerging writers as well as from highly respected writers. Hall has secured a reputation as one of the finest small publishers and most respected editors today.

Hall's first book, A Measured Response, is an anthology of poems written by Vietnam War veterans as a response to the first Persian Gulf War. Hall took it upon himself to create and edit this project, giving these war veterans voices. His second book, From the Periphery: Poems and Essays, deals with Hall's own personal experiences in Vietnam, including his protests against the war while still an active-duty soldier. His third book, Deep Thicket and Still Waters, is a series of poems and essays that lament the heinous hate crimes committed against James Byrd, Jr., an African American who was tied to the tailgate of a truck by young white men and dragged until Byrd's body was torn apart. To Wake Again, a recent short collection of poems on the current Iraq War was published three years ago by Pudding House Publishing in Cleveland, Ohio. This year, Plain View Press, an activist press in Austin, Texas, "dedicated to literary works promoting peace and justice and women's right", published Hall's full-length collection of essays, Coming to Terms. In addition to all of this, Turning Point Press, also based in Ohio, will be publishing Hall's "selected poems", Foreign and Domestic, forthcoming in 2009.

The entire collection of Hall's work is based on and steeped in literary works that define, point to, and spotlight the need for justice and peace. He has dedicated decades to promoting poetry as a presence in the world for bearing witness to social injustice and as a voice for truth. While preserving his own personal commitment to the writing of poetry, he has maintained an enormous commitment to the community of poets in San Antonio as well as nationally by publishing their work, organizing readings that include them, and taking their books on the road across the country to sell at conferences and book fairs. Furthermore, he mentors student writers by publishing a chapbook of poems or stories by a select St. Mary's University student each year. By so doing, he urges young people to take their voices and their writing seriously -- serving as speakers for truth within their own community. It is critical that the next generation of American writers be recognized amidst all the "consumer noise" and be urged to keep speaking -- that their voice does matter to the larger community.