Poets - Books - Activists

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Mark Lipman Biography, bibliography and Social Activism


Recipient of the "2015 Joe Hill Labor Poetry Award"; founder of VAGABOND; a writer, poet, multi-media artist and activist, author of six books: "Poetry for the Masses" (2015), "Global Economic Amnesty" (2014) with a comment by Noam Chomsky, "A Stirring Underfoot" (2011), "The Dirt of Dispair" (2010) translated into Spanish by poet Antonieta Villamil, "Because We Were Happy And Free" (2009). His first novel, "Impermanence", was published in Paris 2001, and nominated for the "Bard Literary Prize" in 2003.

Mark uses poetry to connect communities to the greater social issues that affect all of our lives, while building consciousness through the spoken word. Mark Lipman is also an AWA (Award Winning Author) with the book "The Border Crossed Us: An Anthology to End Apartheid" (2015), given annually by The Latino Book Awards for published books with themes about or written by Latino Authors.

Mark Lipman published in the anthologies "Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising From The Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles" with an Introduction by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, published by Tia Chucha Press, "Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology: Los Angeles", "The RPB World Anthology", "Heartfire Anthology" and "Overthrow Capitalism Anthology", etc.

In 2002 he became writer in residence in Paris France, for a year at the world famous Shakespeare and Company, under the guidance of its founder George Whitman. In that year he worked with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hirschman and the Italian poet, Igor Costanzo, in Back to Beat, a Fluxus art and poetry event in Breccia, Italy.

In Los Angeles, Mark has been a frequent contributor with articles and poetry for the Free Venice Beachhead. Currently, he is a member of POWER (People Organized for Westside Renewal), Occupy Venice, the Revolutionary Poets Brigade and 100 Thousand Poets for Change.


Since moving to Venice California in 2008, he has been organizing on affordable housing issues and has been an outspoken advocate for human rights to housing, from Veteran Rights to Human Rights. 

His social and political activism began in Berlin, where as a witness to true democracy, he helped to take down The Berlin Wall. After returning from active duty with NMCB16 (Seabees) - a Gulf War Era Veteran, Mark's political views moved further to the left, having witnessed from inside the military the contradictions between the "official stories" and the reality of war.

Co-founder of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition (USA), Agir Contre la Guerre (France) and Occupy Los Angeles, and most recently the Westside Tenants Union, he has been an outspoken critic of war and occupation since 2001. In 1992, he started organizing with CalPIRG, to protect California's waterways and then, while living in Paris, he was a volunteer with Greenpeace France in 1998 and later became their Assistant Rain-forest Campaigner.

Poetry for The Masses By Mark Lipman

8.5 x 8.5, 108 pages, full color illustrations, $15 (plus shipping)


Drawn from the inspirations of social awakenings throughout the world; born out of the economic and social justice struggles of today, and a living testament of the spirit of the Occupy Movement, this powerful body of work exemplifies the voice of a generation tired of towing the line for a system that provides nothing for its people.

A treasure trove of poetic verse, Poetry for the Masses is bold and brazen indictment of capitalism and is a major step forward in the on-going debate of where we are heading as a society. A clarion call for justice.

“Mark Lipman writes beautifully and honestly for the people. His words are a gift. They give us strength; they remind us of our history, our potential, our bravery, our indomitable spirit. Mark’s poetry teaches us that anything is possible, that nothing has to stand in our way, that together, dignified, focused, and determined, we can change the world!” ~ Ron Kovic author of “Born on the Fourth of July”.

“Mark Lipman makes verses incendiary, an insurrection of words, ideas, rhythms, plowing open the earth for true justice, greater imaginations, for a new world about to blossom. Read Mark’s poetry, think hard on the material he draws on, the concaving of the capitalist world, then act. You’ll be more vital and incandescent for it.” ~ Luis J. Rodriguez, Los Angeles Poet Laureate;
author of “My Nature is Hunger” and “Always Running”.

Global Economic Amnesty by Mark Lipman

   8.5 x 5.5, 98 pages, $12 (plus shipping)

An amazing collection of thought provoking work, Global Economic Amnesty, examines the economic system of capitalism and how it has led to great social injustice and economic disparity we face today, while at the same time presenting solutions to a more co-operative economic path for society. A powerful, must read collection of essays that will redefine what is possible. 

“The idea of debt forgiveness is very much on the agenda. I think some form of debt forgiveness is a good idea and has been for a long time. Jubilee 2000, for example, called for forgiving “odious debt,” a technical notion introduced into international law by the US when it didn’t want to pay Cuba’s debt to Spain after taking Cuba over. And the notion is correct: debt imposed on a population who didn’t incur the debt; rather dictators did. A pretty natural interpretation of that notion would eliminate quite a lot of debt. And there are other cases. But the groundwork has to be laid. There has to be broad general understanding of the meaning, the justification, and the likely consequences – which are complex. Closing the banks, for example, would pretty much destroy the society as it now stands. That’s a long project. Thanks for your thoughts.” ~ Noam Chomsky.

“Lipman’s style is breezy, conversational, and engaging as he indicts runaway capitalism. He inspires us to think more deeply about economic engines, the power of community, and the need to reassess the importance of time and happiness over profit and plunder. I give this book an A+.” ~ Marcy Winograd, Economics Teacher and Three-Time Congressional Candidate.

“The ideas in this document are truly revolutionary.” ~ Alex Pausides, Director, International Poetry Festival of Havana, Cuba.

The Border Crossed Us: An Anthology To End Apartheid edited by Mark Lipman and published by Vagabond

The Border Crossed Us: an anthology to end apartheid is a collection of poetry and artwork on Immigration and Palestinian Justice. An incredibly powerful body of work that stands out as a strong example of the growing world-wide solidarity between all people for a better, more just planet.

You actually cannot sell the idea of freedom, democracy, diversity, as if it were a brand attribute and not reality --not at the same time as you are bombing people, you can't." - Naomi Klein.

This anthology starts with a commanding introduction: "Following The Trail of Bones" by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez and includes testimonial poetry by Poet Laureates and International Award Wining Author to newer strong voices of our times like Jack Hirshman, Dinos Siotis, Alejandro Murguia, Luis J. Rodriguez, Antonieta Villamil, Michael Castro, Amir Or, Michael Rothenberg, Ernest Rosenthal, and Mark Lipman, to Gary Hicks, Iris De Anda, Hiram Sims, Seven Dhar, Victor Avila, Dorothy Payne, Jeffrey Matin, Henry Howard, Virginia Barret, John Curl, Marlon Stern, Matt Sedillo, David Romero, and Pina Piccolo just to name a few.


8.5 x 8.5; full color illustrations; 220 pages,  $25 includes shipping.

Revolutionary Poets Brigade -Los Angeles Anthology edited by Mark Lipman and published by Vagabond

8.5 x 8.5, 298 pages, full color illustrations, $25 (plus shipping)

This anthology, a selection of works from 70 Los Angeles poets, and the great photo-art of Venice artist, Mike Chamness, represents a powerful and broad spectrum of voices throughout the entire region.

Though by no means intended to be an exhaustive collection of all the great poets there are to discover in Los Angeles, let this anthology speak as an introduction to the soul of our communities on issues of social activism, race, discrimination, immigration, war, injustice, displacement, the environment, women issues, children rights, earth rights, human rights, labor and workers, here in this great city, the belly of the beast, Los Angeles, California.

“The Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology makes revolution still possible in these cataclysmic terrible times.” ~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1st Poet Laureate of California.

“That a Revolutionary Poets Brigade exists in Los Angeles is a bit of a miracle and thanks to Mark Lipman in "ElAye" this Anthology reflects some of the terrific poetry, outside the established institutions, that exists in that area, from more renowned poets like Luis. J. Rodriguez to terrific new voices like Henry Howard and venerables like Michael C Ford. There’s potential for the biggest Brigade in the States in Los Angeles. Where did Romero come from? And that Devcich, wow!” ~ Jack Hirschman, 4th Poet Laureate of San Francisco.

A Stirring Underfoot book and poem by Mark Lipman

A Stirring Underfoot
by Mark Lipman

A rumbling can be heard on the horizon
A great stirring underfoot
as dried, dying leaves crack and crumble
from the weight bearing down on them

The march into battle echoes in far off villages
and mighty metropolis
as clear as the fallen pin.

A wisp of wind in the Sahara
is all that is needed
to create a sand storm
in the dust bowl of the mid-west

Unrest in the streets and town squares
amassed in the raised voices
at the checkout counter

And a fist can be seen in the air
multiplied by the millions
of disheveled and downtrodden.

No, we are not to blame for the bankers’ plunder.

We, we are merely the results of deregulation
of capitalization
of corruption in high places
and our voices will be heard

Vibrating in your meeting halls
crumbling your capitols
to dust and ash
from whence they came.

Greedy children and their teachers
are not the guilty parties.

The excess spoils will not be found
in the pockets of the toiling masses.

Grandma’s social security check
did not crash the economy
any more than did immigrants
send your jobs to China.

We are not the problem
but like a thunderbolt
from Zeus’ fingertips
slicing through the darkness
of their expedient lies
We will be the solution.

Third Populist Manifesto from the book "The Dirt of Dispair" by Mark Lipman

Third Populist Manifesto
by Mark Lipman

The sons of another
Whitman awake
Retake the word
Retake the song
There is no time now
for sleeping till noon
in your shuttered rooms
There is no time now
as New York crumbles
beneath our feet
under the trampling
of a nation of sheep
as Kabul is wiped
off the map
as the Palestinian
follows in the footsteps
of the Native American
gone with the echoes
of a thousand mother’s cries
everyone asking “Why?”

Not for freedom
Not for democracy
But for a new kingdom
ruled by philanthropy

Yes, blood is thicker
than water
but not as thick
as oil

How many must still
be killed
to keep the drills

Where are the new Ginsbergs
the new Dylans
the voices of a new generation
with their cut-up jeans
and back packs?
Where are all the great
minds of today
Still roaming their
dark alleyways?

Yes, Ferlinghetti is still alive
but so too is Berlusconi

The usurper is still
in the House
And all the voices
remain silent

How many Kyotos
must be rejected?
How many Johannesburgs
over-ruled by a party of one?
How many rulers selected
and promises broken
before we stand up
and speak out
and take back
what should be ours
guaranteed by birth?

Whitman’s wild children
are all alive and well
So put down your glasses
and pick up your pens
Get on your buses
all going “Further”
And let your voices
be heard.