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The Sepoy Rebellion: A Manifesto

The historic 1858 incident that New York City newspapers dubbed "Staten Island’s Sepoy Rebellion" was a successful insurrection protesting dangerous health conditions on this island. In that spirit we, the poets of The Sepoy Rebellion, pursue a poetry of resistance against destructive poetic practices, here in Richmond County and elsewhere.

We believe that poetry is not an abstraction but a living entity that emanates from the deepest sources of our being, both as individuals and communities. We represent a vital poetry that expresses itself through our voices, in regular public performance; however, we also commit ourselves to an engaged and engaging poetry that works equally well on the printed page.

We seek to disprove the notion that poetry in published form and poetry readings as performances need be either dry intellectual affairs of interest only to an elite or, at the other extreme, melanges of doggerel and mediocre versifying that do not advance culture or the cause of poetry. We require accessibility of our poetry, while insisting that it meet high standards of richness of language, complexity of thought and feeling, and durability.

We see our individual poetries and the collaborations between us in this collective project as living manifestations of the energies that created this country and this community. We believe that poetry and poetry readings must celebrate the intimacy of people sharing (and continuously creating) a common cultural heritage.

Lastly, we believe that our approach to poetry forges a stronger community. Disparate as we are individually, together we form a continuum that reflects Staten Island’s changing identity. We believe that our poetry can help fulfill the people’s deepest longing for identity. We are proud to be a unique Staten Island experiment that seeks to establish our county firmly in the center of contemporary literary activity.

Allan Douglass Coleman Wil Wynn Marguerite Maria Rivas Sepoy tag

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