Excerpt from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" by Walt Whitman


What is it then between us?

What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not,

I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,

I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it,

I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,

In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,

In my walks home late at night or as I lay in my bed they came upon me,

I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution,

I too had receiv’d identity by my body,

That I was I knew was of my body, and what I should be I knew I should be of my body.

Poetry and Democracy

For the month of March, Kundiman is happily working once again with the Poetry Coalition! This year, alongside more than 20 other poetry organizations, we are exploring the theme "What Is It, Then, Between Us?"—– a line from Walt Whitman's famous poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry."

In this thematic line of inquiry, we are looking into how poetry can provoke questions in the multitudinous Asian American communities about issues that have pressed us throughout American history to the present-day.

With the help guest curators –– Alison Roh Park, Ryan Lee Wong, Janine Joseph, and Dulani –– we have culled together a Poery & Democracy Action Calendar focusing on one topic for each week in the month of March: Asian American Immigration, Documentation, Activism, and Solidarity. Each item in the calendar includes an introduction to the topic, a folio of poems, writing prompts, and direct actions, all brought together by the particular week's curator. Also in conjunction with the program, Kundiman will be hosting a Postcard Project event on March 17th at Arc Studios & Gallery in SF, in which our materials will be discussed and exercised communally, during which which everyone is invited to write postcards that engage in art and action.

Our aim is to raise questions and provide historical context, which can lead to dialogue, engagement, and action.


Hashtag your responses to our Action Calendar with #PoetryCoalition and/or #PoetryandDemocracy on social media!

Please also check out the other Poetry & Democracy programs here.

action calendar:

Week One: Immigration

Week Two: Activism

Week Three: Documentation

Week Four: Solidarity

march events


Postcard Project (KSW's Arc Studios, SF) – March 17th