In January, William Allegrezza, publisher of Moria Books, announced a new imprint, locofo chaps, which focuses on political poetry, and within Donald Trump’s first 100 days of office, he single-handedly undertook a project in which he read, accepted, designed, formatted, published, and mailed 100 protest poetry chapbooks to the White House. Since accomplishing this colossal feat, Allegrezza has continued to accept submissions. The chapbooks are available for free in .pdf form or for purchase in hard copy at http://www.moriapoetry.com/locofo.html and would serve as wonderful resources for resistance efforts and in the college classroom. Eileen R. Tabios wrote an insightful review of the project in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, available at http://www.glass-poetry.com/journal/reviews/tabios-locofo.html In her article, she states, “Sending the chapbooks to the White House means that locofo chaps is de facto creating literature’s own protest rally.”
Writing is a dynamo when it serves as an agent of social betterment, and I am very pleased that my first chapbook, If We Were Birds, was included in the project. The focus of the single poem work is the precarious status that DREAMers (undocumented children who have been raised in the United States) face. While Trump first intended to reverse Obama’s DACA initiative and deport this group of immigrants, he has more recently recanted, choosing, instead, to focus on the deportation of older undocumented immigrants. Even though I am delighted that DREAMers have received a temporary reprieve and will be able to continue to drive and work in the United States, it still does not change the fact that a permanent solution is needed for this population. Any American leader at any time in the future could revoke DACA, leaving DREAMers unable to continue being productive members of our society as well as at risk of deportation. In addition, DACA does not allow DREAMers to have Medicaid or, if they entered the USA without a Visa, to marry, among other limitations. The issue is not being faced by a small number of immigrants either; it affects 1.9 million DACA eligible undocumented young people, over 96,000 of whom have already graduated from college (which they paid for out of pocket). Many DREAMers do not even remember the country in which they were born and were not given a choice as to whether or not to come to America. They are ours now, are as American as those of us who are citizens, and instead of paying approximately $500 every two years to be allowed limited rights, DREAMers deserve to be given permanent status.
On Saturday, July 15th, locofo chaps will be hosting a reading. To hear about the plight of DREAMers and from other activist poets on innumerable timely issues, please come!
The information is as follows:
1564 North Milwaukee Avenue