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Thursday, November 08, 2007


by Alan Catlin

In November 2006, [Paul] Chan was invited to lecture at Tulane University. During his stay, he toured the flood-ravaged city. The stark landscape led him to think of New Orleans as the perfect setting for an outdoor version of Godot. "In the (Lower) 9th Ward and parts of Gentilly, you saw these barren streets," he said. "In Godot, the only setting is a road and a tree." But Chan, who lives in New York, said it was "not only a visual sensation that suggested (Samuel) Beckett's play, but the sense of waiting, waiting for Road Home money, or friends in Houston and Atlanta, waiting for them to return."
--"Artist Paul Chan brings his 'Godot' to a waiting city,"
by Doug MacCash and David Cuthbert, November 06, 2007

staged in

9th Ward


say, "Waiting,
I can tell you

about waiting."
Waiting for rescue

waiting for FEMA
for Red Cross

for National Guard
all deployed to Iraq

Waiting for housing
waiting for jobs

for new schools
Waiting for Bush

Alan Catlin's latest chapbook is a long poem, "Thou Shalt Not Kill", an updating of Rexroth's seminal poem of the same name. Whereas Rexroth riffs on the abuses of the Eisenhower adminstration, the update observes abuses of power in the current administration with particular attention to the cynical, criminal behavior towards the Katrina hurricane victims. One year later, the victims are not forgotten. No matter how many candles the Bushes light, the appalling lack of humanity and the blatant hypocrisy of the folks in charge is as apparent as the disenfranchised, the homeless, and the poverty stricken people of the Gulf states.