I read Neal Pollack’s article “Everybody Shut Up!” in the February 28 issue of the Reader. While it might be slightly entertaining, it is certainly in bad taste in the shadow of a real war for our country. I find it in extremely poor taste. It is also an insult to not only all U.S. poets and writers who are making a real effort and actually trying to do something about it, but to all the outspoken activist poets and writers throughout the world who have been imprisoned and tortured for speaking out and taking a stand against oppressive governments with military inclinations–a stance our own government is unfortunately headed in with the current deterioration of civil liberties. Perhaps Mr. Pollack would like them all to shut up too, while only he voices his silly disapproval in what is not a laughing matter.

And just to gore Mr. Pollack further, I would like to add my own voice to all those other poets speaking up against the war with one of my own poems, which until recently was only four lines long.


the muse

just won’t

let them

shut up

they cannot stay silent

when there is a war about to happen

they have to shout out

Stop the war! We want peace! Stop the war!

nothing can make them

shut up

when they see things happening

that shouldn’t

nothing can make them


speak up

against the wrong political party

poets will always find their voice

to counter what is wrong

to speak up against injustice

poets will always speak their minds

nothing will make them give in to a guilty silence

the muse will relentlessly see to that

she will never just let them

shut up

Effie Mihopoulos

N. Sawyer