Statement by Jack Hirshman, new WPM´s General Coordinator

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WPM was founded 8th of July, 2011, by 37 international poetry festival directors from four continents, at the 21st Medellín International Poetry Festival. Our first coordinator was Peter Rorvik, director of Poetry Africa, after him, for almost 10 years, WPM was coordinated by Fernando Rendón.

During the first decade of WPM, 15 world poetry actions were promoted, Poetry Planetariat, our newsletter was founded, coordinated by Dino Siotis, Ataol Behramoglu and Ayo Ayoola Amale; thousands of poets and hundreds of national and international poetry festivals and organisations that are part of the Movement were contacted; they were developed the website -which will soon have a new version-, and the Facebook page -with 18,000 followers-.

During this decade, fortnightly meetings were held among the members of the Coordinating Committee, who are poets and directors of poetry festivals and organizations from 18 countries. At the last chat, on Sunday 27 February, Fernando Rendón proposed his replacement and suggested the prominent American poet Jack Hirschman take his place, who accepted the appointment. Below is the statement issued by Jack Hirschman:


As the World Poetry Movement (WPM) enters the 2nd decade of its existence with the publication of its anthology, Poetry Planetariat, in March, and the international Red Carnation events the world over against fascism in April, we can take another look at the meaning of the Movement we’ve both founded and engaged in.

To a man and to a woman, every poet in the central body of the WPM, representing every continent on earth, believes that a poem is the most resonant instrument of expression for the realization of the dream of world peace and lovingkindness between peoples and nations.

The Prague-born poet who wrote in the German language, Rainer Maria Rilke, in his Sonnets to Orpheus, wrote, “Gesang ist Dasein”, that is “Song is Being”. And every poem is a song.

Which is to say that every poem is naked heartfeltness, received by the imagination in everyone from the soul of Existence itself.

And therefore that everyone in fact is a poet.
Even illiterates who recite or sing in the streets.
Yes, and a poem doesn’t care about money.
Its language is love or the rage against the lack of it.

And that’s why, in these times of globalized hatreds, white supremacy, anti-Asian narrowness due to Covid-19, and anti- Black and anti-Brown bigotry rampant from Africa to South America, a poem is the most magnificent expression of sincere honesty against the fascisms of our time.

Which is why the WPM in this decade is opening wide the doors of Liberty to the poet in every one and welcoming the most powerful thing in the world—the poetic Word.

Jack Hirschman