Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

In the midst of an epidemic of violence in the United States, editors Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague and Dean Rader have brought together poets, politicians, survivors and activists to proclaim a crucial need for gun control. Contributor Jessica Pollock Mindich, president of the Caliber Foundation, explains, "Art creates change. It has the power to heal, inspire, teach, and unite."

Bullets into Bells offers a stunning array of such art, focusing on myriad tragedies occurring at the end of a gun barrel. Mass shootings, gang murders, domestic violence, accidents, racially motivated crimes--the intensity of the problem glares back through the book's 54 poems, crafted with forceful imagery and haunting words. Richard Blanco writes in "One Pulse--One Poem," "bullets, bodies, death--the vocabulary/ of violence raging in our minds, but still mute, choked/ in our throats."

While readers process each poem, so does an individual touched by the destructive nature of guns, including a U.S. senator, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and John Grauwiler, co-founder of Gays Against Guns--who admits, "As a teacher, the Sandy Hook massacre shook my faith in humanity. As a person of color, the Charleston shooting at the Mother Emmanuel Church crushed my soul. As a gay man, Orlando broke my heart." But he's also able to find hope, and says, "Activism is what love looks like in public."

Passionate, thoughtful, informed and persuasive, this poetry collection is art and activism in its rawest form. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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