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in a land of plenty: no copyright (1982–85) Editors’ Note: This essay appeared in the last collection of West’s work published during his lifetime, In a Land of Plenty (1982). No Copyright: Purposely this book is not copyrighted. Poetry and other creative efforts should be levers, weapons to be used in the people’s struggle for understanding , human rights, and decency. “Art for Art’s Sake,” is a misnomer. The poet can never be neutral. In a hungry world the struggle between oppressor and oppressedisunending.Thereistheinevitablequestion:“Whichsideareyouon?” To be content with things as they are, to be “neutral,” is to take sides with the oppressor who also wants to keep the status quo. To challenge the power of oppression is the poet’s responsibility. Such action helps to preserve and build faith and hope in humanity. Nothing raises the spirit of a people more. This is the major mission of the poet or artist. Thus no copyright, no effort to restrict use. Groups or individuals are welcome to reproduce or use any or all parts of this book. 01.Prose.1-blnk 96/West 12/2/03, 11:48 AM 95 01.Prose.1-blnk 96/West 12/2/03, 11:48 AM 96 ...


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