I Am Big. It's the Pictures That Got Small

for those wonderful people out there in the dark

25 June 2006

300 Million, and More Poets in SW Florida

Aside from trying to scare white America that a Hispanic baby or immigrant will push the U.S. population to 300 million later this fall, CNN's report more or less takes the news only as a milestone. What is striking is the focus is on immigration, not on overpopulation. When the official tally went pass 200 million during the Johnson administration, which I remember, were all the stories of overpopulation, most famously by Paul Ehrlich. Of course, I realize how long-out-of-fashion these "doomsayers" are, but CNN doesn't even bring up the issue that the growth in the U.S.--with all its material consumer consumption--does indeed have severe environmental consequences.

In my neck of the woods, in horrendously developing, wetland erasing, mcmansion building Southwest Florida, the growth is a mix of, yes, Hispanic immigration, but primarily of midwesterners and East-Coast Floridians. And yes, I am all too aware of my own presence here that just adds and adds to the slow degradation.

Culturally, though, the infusion of East Coasters is a good thing for SW Florida. We get remarkable artists, most famously Robert Rauschenburg and Jonathon Green, but more recently, the urban expressionist Marcus Jansen, who lives in Lehigh Acres, the most nondescript bedroom community you could imagine. So it is a little less sleepy of a place.

Speaking of which, yesterday I helped my very good friends, Jesse and Lyn Millner, move into their new home. In previous entries, I have written a good deal about Jesse's poetry, and Lyn is an amazing writer, too. It was fun, hot work, with all our friends together, too. But Jesse and Lyn have left Hollywood, Florida, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and we will be welcoming Jill Drumm a little later this summer, who is also leaving North Miami for Fort Myers. With Jill and Jesse, we will gain two very wonderful poets to SW Florida, to add to those among some terrific poets, including Jay Hopler (though he's moving to Tampa), my regulars of Kimberly Campanello, Marilyn Koren, Barbara Finkelstein (who's about to leave for another corner of the U.S.), Joe Pacheco, Pat Washington, Lorraine Vail, and Bill Highsmith, and youngish poets Rachel Kazor, Claire Liparulo, Gary Levenson. Of these, I believe only Claire and Rachel are "natives."

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