Saturday, 29 September 2012

Liberté (naming ceremony)

Ibrahim Honjo photo, Sasamat Lake

let your era begin
is it not distressing to you
that a human being is a target
that a human being is
the target of another human being

~ Ibrahim Honjo, from his book
On my schoolboy copybook
On my desks and the trees
On the sand of the snow
I write thy name

On every page I have read
On each blank page
Stone, blood, paper or ashes
I write thy name

On the gilded pictures
On the warriors weapons
On the King’s crown
I write thy name

On the jungle and barren land
On the nests, on broom shrubs
On the echo of my childhood
I write thy name

On each breath of dawn
On the sea, on the ships
On the demented mountain
I write thy name

On the foam of clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On the pouring tasteless rain
I write thy name

On the awakening paths
On the unfolding roads
On the crowded squares
I write thy name

On the switched on lamp
On the switched off lamp
On my collected motives
I write thy name

On my lairs in ruins
On my destroyed lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write thy name

On recovered health
On vanished danger
On hope without memory
I write thy name

And by the power of one word
I begin my life again
I was born to know thee
To name thee


~Paul Eluard, in Poésies et vérités, 1942
~ Jacqueline Maire translation~

Sur mes cahiers d'écolier
Sur mon pupitre et les arbres
Sur le sable de neige
J'écris ton nom

Sur toutes les pages lues
Sur toutes les pages blanches
Pierre sang papier ou cendre
J'écris ton nom

Sur les images dorées
Sur les armes des guerriers
Sur la couronne des rois
J'écris ton nom

Sur la jungle et le désert
Sur les nids sur les genêts
Sur l'écho de mon enfance
J'écris ton nom

Sur les merveilles des nuits
Sur le pain blanc des journées
Sur les saisons fiancées
J'écris ton nom

Sur tous mes chiffons d'azur
Sur l'étang soleil moisi
Sur le lac lune vivante
J'écris ton nom

Sur les champs sur l'horizon
Sur les ailes des oiseaux
Et sur le moulin des ombres
J'écris ton nom

Sur chaque bouffées d'aurore
Sur la mer sur les bateaux
Sur la montagne démente
J'écris ton nom

Sur la mousse des nuages
Sur les sueurs de l'orage
Sur la pluie épaisse et fade
J'écris ton nom

Sur les formes scintillantes
Sur les cloches des couleurs 
Sur la vérité physique
J'écris ton nom

Sur les sentiers éveillés
Sur les routes déployées
Sur les places qui débordent
J'écris ton nom

Sur la lampe qui s'allume
Sur la lampe qui s'éteint
Sur mes raisons réunies
J'écris ton nom

Sur le fruit coupé en deux
Du miroir et de ma chambre
Sur mon lit coquille vide
J'écris ton nom

Sur mon chien gourmand et tendre
Sur ses oreilles dressées
Sur sa patte maladroite
J'écris ton nom

Sur le tremplin de ma porte
Sur les objets familiers
Sur le flot du feu béni
J'écris ton nom

Sur toute chair accordée
Sur le front de mes amis
Sur chaque main qui se tend
J'écris ton nom

Sur la vitre des surprises
Sur les lèvres attendries
Bien au-dessus du silence
J'écris ton nom

Sur mes refuges détruits
Sur mes phares écroulés
Sur les murs de mon ennui
J'écris ton nom

Sur l'absence sans désir
Sur la solitude nue
Sur les marches de la mort
J'écris ton nom

Sur la santé revenue
Sur le risque disparu
Sur l'espoir sans souvenir
J'écris ton nom

Et par le pouvoir d'un mot
Je recommence ma vie
Je suis né pour te connaître
Pour te nommer


World Poetry Richmond shared a multilingual tapestry of Paul Eluard's "Liberté" today~ first the French original, then in English translation, then (the tapestry) stanza by stanza through a kaliedoscope of languages, Nepali and German, Korean and Serbo-Croatian, and many more, a dozen poets presenting in almost as many languages.

One of the many performers was Ibrahim Honjo, whose newest poetry book I dipped into during the coffee break. Photo and poem excerpt from his website, Honjo's Poetry & Art.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Suheir Hammad: four poems

vid 1 ~ Uploaded by on 31 May 2011
Official video for the poem Into Egypt, written and performed by Suheir Hammad. Hi-res download available at: (Credits below)
vid 2 ~ Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" -- meditations on war and peace, on women and power.
Uploaded by on 4 Feb 2011
vid 3 ~ Def Poetry Jam presents... Suheir Hammad- "Daddy's Song"
Uploaded by on 15 Mar 2010
Follow Poetical TV on Twitter @

Listen to Sam's song, A Change is Gonna Come

Into Egypt Credits:

Director: Waleed Zaiter (Twitter: @habibism)
Director of Photography/Editor: George Cox

Starring: Paragini Amin, I'in P. Cox, Nisrin Elamin, Mona Eltahawy, Ayesha A. Grant, Suheir Hammad, Marwa Helal
Composer: Daniel Freedman/
Animation/Design: Waleed Zaiter
Additional Animation: Christopher Palazzo
P.A.: I'in P. Cox
Arabic Translation: Tarek Aylouch
Audio Mastering: Jean-Luc Sinclair

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mazen Maarouf, Poetics + Poem

“For me a poem is just a piece of freedom, just a tiny piece of freedom. I imagine freedom as a fabric that we all try to stitch a part of, or clean a part of it. I think that when we write a poem, regardless whether the poem is good or bad, it is something that makes us feel relaxed. It is a kind of treatment, like you are going to the hospital, and this hospital is established only for one hour and only for you. The only nurse in this hospital is you.”

“You are receiving yourself and treating yourself. In this treating room, this intensive care, no one sees you, and you can express and do whatever you want. You destroy a part of this hospital, you keep another, you sit wherever you want, and you establish one tiny piece of freedom. It's like a magic pill that makes us very happy. I want to jump sometimes, when I write a poem and have conviction in what I wrote, I feel very happy. This sudden happiness is also confusing. You feel yourself losing your mind, but it is very good to lose your mind peacefully, without bad consequences. Poetry is the key to freedom for me.”

~Mazen Maarouf, interview, "A Tiny Piece Of Freedom" (The Reykjavik Grapevine Art)


The wood, which was used
Without love
To make wings of planes
And windows,
That wood
Inhabited by the spirits of hundreds of birds
From when it was part of a tree,
They clung to it,
While contemplating the skin of their little babies
And thinking
The leaves, which protect me from the wind …
Are late …
The wood of that window
That there are feathers beneath its bark,
That someday
It will be able to steal
Out of these squares
Designed for it
And then it will fly high
Wiping away the sweat of workers from its skin
In front of children waiting for their school bus
That its origin was
A group of sparrows.

(from “An Angel Suspended on a Clothesline”)
~Mazen Maarouf, from his website

"Palestinian Mazen Maarouf was raised in Lebanon, and was recently forced into a double exile in Iceland after criticising the Syrian regime.  His third poetry collection, An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline, was published in Lebanon after he had left. 

"We follow him from Reykjavik to Paris as he works on the translation into French. With his work translated into English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Maltese, Icelandic and Chinese, this rising poetry star finds himself wandering the world with only his notebook to provide security."

~Poets of Protest, Artscape Screening this weekend, Friday Sept 28~Monday Oct 1, 2012

Earlier post: more about poets of protest

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Caselist: Canada, Colombia


Twice a year the PEN International Writers In Prison Committee produces a caselist of individuals around the world who are detained or otherwise persecuted for their peaceful political activities or for the practice of their profession.

Read the January – June 2012 Caselist by clicking on the image.... For previous caselists go to Campaign Resources.

An Extract: 
*Eric-Yvan LEMAY: reporter for Journal de Montréal. Officers of Surete du Québec (Québec Provincial Police) arrived at his home on March 15 2012 with a search warrant. They seized his computer and some of his clothing, and obtained fingerprints. Lemay published a series of articles exposing the lack of privacy surrounding patients’ hospital records in Québec. They included information from, and photographs of, patient files that had been left open in public view. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression believes this raid to be an attempt to intimidate Lemay and other journalists.

Imprisoned – Main Case  
*Luis Agustín GONZÁLEZ: journalist for the newspaper Cundinamarca Democrática was on 29 February 2012 found guilty by the supreme court of offending the honour of the ex governor of Cundinamarca, Leonor Serrano de Camargo, but was absolved of libeling him. González had been found guilty in September 2011 of both charges earlier, based on an article he wrote in 2008 questioning the political aspirations of the then governor. The article was entitled ‘NO MAS!’ (No More). The supreme court modified a previous sentence, and González will now serve 18 months and 18 days in prison, with a fine of 17 months’ salary.

On trial 
Angye GAONA (f): poet, cultural worker and student, is on trial for“aggravated conspiracy for drug trafficking and rebellion” (concierto para delinquir agravado con fines de narcotráfico y rebellion). She was arrested on 13 January 2011 in Cucuta, Norte de Santander department, near the border with Venezuela, and detained at Buen Pastor Prison in Cucuta until her release on bail on 21 May, three days after the maximum 90-day period during which she could be legally held without charge. At the time of her release, the charges against Gaona had not yet been formalised and the prosecution had yet to present any evidence against her.
Legal case: The hearing in which Gaona was formally charged took place in Cartagena on 23 May, two days after her release; her lawyer attended but Gaona was not obliged to appear in court. The arrest warrant against her has not yet been revoked and the Attorney General has appealed her release order. Gaona denies the charges and maintains that the case against her is a set-up and is due to her leftwing sympathies. She says she was not interrogated even once during her three months’ detention, and also questions the fact that she was detained in Cucuta when the case has been brought in Cartagena, more than 400 km away.
Update: Her trial began on 15 February 2012, in Cartagena de Indias.
Possible reasons for arrest: Gaona’s supporters claim the real reason for her arrest is her outspoken support for the demands of a labour union in the district where she lives. Her detention has been linked to that of three other student activists in the region, Julián Aldoni Domínguez, William Rivera Rueda and Aracely Cañaveral Vélez. The arrests reportedly took place in the context of a wave of attacks against human rights defenders in the Santander region, including attempted assassinations and forced disappearances and death threats, and against informal economy workers affiliated to the Colombian Trades Union Congress (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, CUT) in Bucaramanga. It is feared that the arrests are intended to silence their legitimate human rights activism.
Trial Concerns: Gaona maintains that she has been depicted as a terrorist by the press, that witnesses against her are former members of the armed forces, and that the prosecution is using recordings of  allegedly incriminating telephone conversations as evidence against her. Her defence deny that it is Gaona’s voice in the recordings.  
Background: Born in Bucaramanga on 21 May 1980, Gaona’s poems have been published in anthologies and other print and internet publications in Colombia and abroad. In 2009 she published her first book, Nacimiento Volátil (Volatile Birth) (Editorial Rizoma). Until her detention a student of languages and literature at the Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Gaona is a former organiser of the Medellín International Poetry Festival and in 2001 organised the International Exhibition of Experimental Poetry, also in Medellín. Prior to her arrest, she organised poetry events in Bucaramanga. She is also said to work as a journalist for community media. Gaona is the mother of a young child.

Edinson LUCIO TORRES: internet journalist (author of the blog “Lucio y sus notas”) based in Cartagena, Bolivar, is on trial for allegedly defaming a former senator. The senator sued Lucio Torres for criminal defamation in October 2006 after the journalist reported on his blog and radio programme that the former senator was one of eight people shown to have links with paramilitary groups. Lucio Torres, who is also the Bolívar head of the opposition Polo Democrático political party, reportedly based his comments on reports from national newspaper El Tiempo, the regional Ombudsman’s Office and a non governmental organisation. The charges against him were admitted on 14 February 2008 and the Prosecutor’s Office subsequently ruled that Lucio Torres did not have sufficient proof for his allegations and had slandered the plaintiff. The initial hearing commenced on 19 February 2010, having reportedly been postponed six times. On 26 April 2011 Lucio Torres was found guilty of aggravated defamation and sentenced to 14 months in prison and a fine. He appealed the sentence. At 31 December 2011, Lucio Torres was still waiting for his appeal to be heard before the Tribunal Superior de Cartagena (High Court of Cartagena). No further news at 30 June 2012.

*Roméo Langlois: former Le Figaro journalist and documentary maker was kidnapped by members of the FARC at the end of April 2012 while he was filming soldiers destroying cocaine laboratories. FARC described him as a prisoner of war and said that he would be released only if the government engaged in public talks about freedom of information. The government said that it will not negotiate with terrorists. The journalist was released a month later on 30 May 2012.

[page] 19


Sunday, 16 September 2012


"Taqralik Partridge is originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, in Arctic Quebec. She is a spoken word artist, writer, and throatsinger of Inuit and Scottish heritage. As an urban Inuk, she speaks to city life in the south with a style grounded in the tradition of Inuit storytelling blended with “urban speak.” She weaves real-life stories with rhyme, lullaby, and throatsinging. She has toured the Canadian Arctic with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. She now lives in Montreal." - Ogamas Aboriginal Literary Festival 2009

Taqralik Partridge on Myspace:
Eskimo Chick Live in Iqaluit
+ on facebook

vid 1
Uploaded by on 23 Aug 2009
 APTN Digital Nations Channel

vid 2
Uploaded by on 12 Jan 2011
Taqralik Partridge performs at the Words Aloud 7 Spoken Word Festival in Durham, Ontario, Canada, November 2010. Visit the festival at HYPERLINK "" Check out Exploring Contemporary Canadian Voices: the Spoken Word, at HYPERLINK "" For the Words Aloud award winning feature documentary visit HYPERLINK ""

The Daughter of Dawn

vid 1
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by
The opening scene of the 1920 silent film, "Daughter of Dawn," by Norbert Myles. The film was rediscovered and restored by the Oklahoma State Historical Society, Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director. The musical score was composed by Dr. David A. Yeagley (Comanche). Dr. Yeagley was commissioned by the Oklahoma State Historical Society, December 12, 2007. The music was performed and recorded by the Oklahoma City University Philharmonic, Benjamin Nilles, Conducting.
vid 2
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by
The scene when Kiowa Chief calls for buffalo meat to save his hungry people.
vid 3
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by
Scene when White Eagle tells the Chief that he has seen the buffalo herd.
vid 4
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by
The Thanksgiving Dance for the buffalo herd.

Discovery of Long-Lost Silent Film With All-Indian Cast Has Historians Reeling

This wildly ambitious project had an all-Native cast, just one cameraman, no costumes, no lighting, no props and wild buffalo. The Indians, who had been on the reservation less than 50 years, brought with them their own tipis, horses and gear. Featured in the film were White Parker, Esther LeBarre, Hunting Horse, Jack Sankeydoty and Wanada Parker, daughter of Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief and one of the founders of the Native American Church movement.
Once descendants of the Kiowa and Comanche cast members were identified, Blackburn arranged to screen The Daughter of Dawn for the families in the Oklahoma towns of Anadarko, Carnegie and Lawton. “There were tears,” he recalls. “They recognized an aunt or a grandparent, and out of that conversation came recognition of the tipi used in the film. It was very powerful for them to see family members who were pre-reservation wearing their own clothing and using family heirlooms that had been brought out of trunks. It was very emotional for them.”

Read complete article:

vid 5
Published on 29 Aug 2012 by
Excerpt from THE DAUGHTER OF DAWN, entitled "Sepia Blue Night." Sample Film Music Scoring by Brent Michel Davids. "Sepia Blue Night" is a clip from the feature film "The Daughter of Dawn" (1920), written and directed by Norbert Miles and produced by the nonextant Texas Film Company. The film was refurbished by the National Film Preservation Foundation and the Oklahoma Historical Society. The clip's original music is copyright by Brent Michael Davids, ©2007. [read more here]