The Palimpsest of Human Rights is an experimental spoken word production which combines verse interpretations of the prose writings of Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, and Henry Thoreau. The influence of new, temporally-bound ideas on succeeding generations is revealed in a continuous discourse.
The physical idea of a palimpsest (writing over the top of an existing text in a manuscript) is here extended to an aural experience. When the texts are read aloud, one over the top of another, the sound preserves some part of the utterance of each original, while concealing some part of the others. Just as the mind of a reader would struggle to decipher what is underneath a superimposed handwriting, the ear of the listener works harder to discern the meaning of the intentionally obscured speech.
The author has adapted prose source materials into a common format by paraphrasing the text into metered lines (iambic pentameter). In a process called text weaving he creates a long poem in which the successive lines are bound rhythmically, but not always by meaning. In each stanza of the printed book, the first line is from Thoreau, the second line from Gandhi, and the third line from King.