Poet Activist Held/Poet’s House Move Takes Place – Poetry News Roundup July 3rd

Today in our poetry news roundup we take a look at the young poet who is being held in custody in the US for reciting poetry that criticised immigration policy. We also take a look at the poet’s house that has finally begun the journey to its new home.

Poetry Reciting Activist Held in US

After he had recited a poem that criticised the immigration policy in the US a student activist was placed under arrest. The student, who is currently in jail in California, is being championed by the American Civil Liberties Union who are claiming that his detention is in violation of the first amendment.

The student, Jose Bello, recited “Dear America” in front of an audience at the supervisory board for Kern County in May of this year. The poem was written following his 2018 detention at the hands of ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and talks about why immigrants come to the US, not for the jobs of other people but to work and pay their own way.

Bello, who in addition to being a student also works on a farm, travelled to the US at the age of 3 and has a young child who is a citizen of America. He was originally arrested last year but when the $10,000 bail bond was raised by community groups he was released. He was arrested for a second time in mid-May.

A petition has been filed which argues that his arrest is a violation of the first amendment due to ICE targeting those activists who were publicly critical of the immigration enforcement practises of the country. They have requested that his $50,000 be reduced as the amount seems unusually high.

PEN America, who often intervene in cases of this nature said the arrest was “cause for serious concern for all those who support freedom of expression and first amendment rights”.

Due to privacy issues, ICE have refused to comment on the case.

Poets House on the Move

Early yesterday morning the Brownie Structural Movers, with a police escort began to move sections of the home of the poet Laura (Riding) Jackson to their new home. The house is being moved from Environmental Learning Centre which is located at Wabasso to the Mueller Campus of the Indian State River College.

A total of three tractor wagons were used to complete the move with the first two carrying parts of the main structure of the house and the final one being used to carry the pole barn roof. The final and main part of the house should be moved next week. It has taken the construction team several weeks to carefully dismantle the house into manageable parts.

The tractors are moving at just 15 miles an hour so the journey to the new site will be slow but steady, to ensure that everything arrives in good condition. Once all of the bits have been transported the lengthy process of putting the house back together will begin. This is due to be combined with a program of renovation to the house before it will eventually be open to visitors.

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