Posters and poems

As you may have noticed already, you’re holding in your hands a very different SN&R. This week marks the third anniversary of the launch of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. We decided the occasion demanded attention, required observance.

So, now for something completely different.

Basically, we have turned much of the paper this week over to the work of local artists and poets. Don Button, SN&R’s art director, asked seven local artists to create posters about the war. Each jumped at the chance. See their powerful and provocative work here. Each of these pieces of art (including the one on the cover) has been reproduced as 11-by-17-inch printed posters and is for sale, with the proceeds going to the local Peace Arts Exchange (PAX), a local group that currently is sponsoring a student peace-poster contest for area elementary- and high-school students. For more information about how to buy any of the posters you’ll find in these pages, see Button’s introduction.

On the poetry side, SN&R is enormously fortunate to have many of the region’s top poets—including Gary Snyder, Sandra Gilbert and Jose Montoya—weighing in this week about war and empire. Thanks to Kel Munger for rounding up the poets.

But that’s not all. Also find a stark numerical takedown of the war—with data on everything from the numbers of dead and wounded to the billions of dollars wasted—here. Additionally, many of the general weekly features you’ll find in this week’s paper—from columns to opinions, reviews and arts features—concern some aspect of war.

Some of you might think all this is an exercise in over-attention. Regardless, we felt compelled to mark the country’s passage into a fourth year of occupation and combat in Iraq, with our equivalent of an exclamation. Begun under false pretenses by a shameful U.S. administration, this war now sits at the center of a giant lie that must be exposed. Make no mistake: It’s one that threatens democracy and the ideal of a just America that many of us yet cling to.