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The Declaration of Independence: With a different perspective

'Think Again' — Upcoming discussion at the cultural center will examine the document as poetry


The Declaration of Independence isn’t typically categorized as poetry, but in attempt to instill thought and conversation, Wendy Willis will lead a discussion on the idea.

“As Americans, we often refer to ourselves as a ‘constitutional republic,’ and we are engaged in ongoing public and heated debates about the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution,” Willis said in a press release. “What we don’t talk about, however, is our second founding document: the Declaration of Independence. If the constitution speaks to the head, the declaration, particularity the first three paragraphs, speaks to the heart and to the body; if the constitution is prose, the declaration is poetry.”

Willis will lead the discussion as a part of the ongoing Think Again series at the Chehalem Cultural Center.

“It’s less of a lecture than it is posing some questions and really getting people to think and interact with each other,” said Caleb Thurston, CCC programming coordinator. “We really wanted to do something around the Fourth of July and this stuck out as something really interesting.”

With each discussion, Thurston tries to find subjects that are different, but also drum up lasting conversation in the community.

“It kind of fits with a more political topic but also seeing where arts intersect with the politics and looking at the Declaration of Independence through slightly different eyes,” he said. “I’d never thought of it that way. It was taught in class as a civic document, but to look at it as a piece of literature, a piece of poetry, and how it might affect us differently was really interesting to us as a team.”

Willis is known as a poet and essayist, and is the executive director of the Policy Consensus Initiative at Portland State University. This installment of the series will start at 7 p.m. June 25, and is the last discussion until August.

For more information, visit www.chehalemculturalcenter.org.




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