I am participating this year in 30 Poems in November, the annual literary fundraiser for the Center for New Americans. CNA welcomes and serves immigrants in Western Massachusetts with free English classes and a range of support services. This cause is very close to my heart because my maternal grandparents were immigrants, refugees of the European Holocaust. I grew up on stories of their long, risky journey to get here and their adjustment to their new country, which they loved deeply, fervently, but not blindly. My mother was born six months after their arrival, so some might count her as an immigrant fetus. (Some might call her an "anchor baby.") So I feel very strongly about supporting immigrants in our country and in my community, and I hope my friends will contribute generously to this important cause.
For more information about the Center for New Americans, please visit: http://www.cnam.org This year's goal for the fundraising event is $50,000.
I'm not gonna lie. There is no way I can write 30 poems in a month. I did it once, the first year of this fundraiser, and it overwhelmed me so badly that I have never attempted it again. But now more than ever I want to support this cause, so I'm adapting the format as follows and hope that you'll support the effort anyway:
I will write at least one line a day in November and post it on Facebook. At the end of the month I will attempt to turn that into a 30-line poem, though I reserve the right to use my hard-won (OK, totally free) poetic license in the service of producing the best work(s) I can out of that.
Many participants encourage donating $30 ($1 per poem/day), and if that speaks to you, please go ahead and do that. But since I'm already doing this unconventionally, I'm going to offer some additional options:
--Please donate $40 if you wish to honor my grandparents' memory. They arrived here in 1940. (If you have $1940 you want to donate, don't let my $40 ask stop you.)
--Please donate $41 if you wish to honor my mother, who , under other circumstances, could easily not have been born an American citizen--or possibly at all. She was born in 1941.
--Please donate $18, $36, or another multiple of 18 if you wish to honor the Jewish tradition of donating in multiples of 18. (18 is considered lucky because the Hebrew letters that spell out the word for "life" also correspond to numbers that add up to 18.)
--Please donate an amount of your choosing, for reasons of your choosing, which you can feel free to share or not, as you choose.
Thank you for donating!