Thursday, October 7, 2010

A poem for Banned Books week

I saw this poem in the display window of my wonderful local indie bookstore, Annie Blooms. It brought me to tears. (Particularly the final two stanzas.)


To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.

You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.

You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
different seas.

You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.

— Ellen Hopkins,
bestselling author of Crank and newly published Tricks


  1. Hai. how are you? i always love to read your blog post


  2. wow such anger
    not for me
    the only one who ever tried to silence me
    was someone like her
    funny isn't it
    But I can understand her need to rant
    with such anger flowing through her veins

  3. Hi Suz,

    Thanks for commenting. I see your point. For some (like me) the poem has power precisely because of its anger. For others, it's a turn-off. That's the wonderful thing about us humans: we are indeed a vast quilt. Or, as Terence put it so well over two thousand years ago, "There are as many opinions as there are people: each has his own correct way."

  4. If you have had that kind of anger unrighteously aimed at you
    you might not like it so much
    those who preach tolerance and are against banning
    only want their stuff not to be banned
    but are the first in line to silence you
    I am not for book banning or cencorship of opinion

  5. Suz, I am intrigued. What did you write that got you so firmly in someone's firing line? (If you want to tell me "off blog" shoot me an e-mail at

    I value your comments and the conversation that ensues. We can all learn from one another.


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