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  • Writer's pictureBenay Hicks

Word Power

By Chris Vitiello, better known as the Poetry Fox

Editor’s note: We were delighted to have the Poetry Fox join us for Dream Big 2019, and we asked him to share a little bit about why he chose to share his unique poetry with our community that day.

I think it was in an essay by the poet Andrei Codrescu. Probably first heard on the radio, read in his Romanian accent, when I was a kid, long before I was a Poetry Fox. Almost a flip remark, that dictators feared a photocopier more than weapons, that the printed and distributed word held more power to change the world than a gun. I was already predisposed to reading everything I could get my hands on, but I hadn’t realized how powerful reading was because I was growing up in a house of library addicts and bookstore haunters, because I always had a stack of books at my elbow.

I’ve lived a whole life in writing and reading and I have the amazing pleasure now of getting to write poems for all different kinds of people in all different kinds of places. I hand people their poem and it goes off with them, put on their bedroom wall or their refrigerator door or some place they always needed a poem in. And the poems occasionally come back to me. People write me years later to say what it’s meant to them to get to live with that poem in that place. They’ve been changed by it, and I’m awed with gratitude to get to have been a little part of that.

When I think about what Book Harvest has done and continues to do, I start to shake. Over a million books gathered and sent into homes that really needed them. Put in the hands of young people who aren’t growing up in the literary lap I grew up in. I shake feeling the power of that, feeling the world changing. You feel it too, don’t you?

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