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‘Against barbarity,’ said the celebrated Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1942-2008), ‘poetry can resist only by cultivating an attachment to human frailty, like a blade of grass growing on a wall as armies march by.’

Spreading poetry around the world from places where words are feared is a very noble cause indeed. Words are amazing things, they can create, they can destroy, they can calm, they can anger, they are cherished and they are feared. They only way to end fear is to face it. Dictators always crush those who can use words, journalists, teachers, philosophers and especially poets whose words can cause souls to fly from a single blade of grass.

Arabic Literature (in English)

Smokestack Books is currently crowdfunding — through October 15 — for their forthcoming anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry. Those pledging £20 or more will receive a copy of the book:

Designed by Belal Khaled.

By crowdfunding, the press seeks to raise money to help pay contributors’ fees and printing costs, as well as to donate to the legal campaigns of imprisoned poets Ashraf Fayadh and Dareen Tatour.

The title of the collection comes from a Mahmoud Darwish quote: “Against barbarity, poetry can resist only by cultivating an attachment to human frailty, like a blade of grass growing on a wall as armies march by.”

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry will be a facing-page, meet-in-the-middle collection that brings together, in English and Arabic, new work by poets from historic Palestine and the diaspora, including work by Marwan Makhoul, Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, Fatena Al-Gharra, Dareen Tatour, Ashraf Fayadh, Fady Joudah, Naomi Shihab Nye, Deema K. Shehabi, Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Farid…

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He wasn’t perfect, but who is? The unrelenting commitment he gave to the cause of human rights, and the sacrifices he made for the struggle right up to the ultimate sacrifice, continue to inspire those who fight the corrupt system.

To quote the great poet Kenneth Rexroth from his beautiful poem For Eli Jacobson;

”There are few of us now, soon

There will be none. We were comrades

Together, we believed we

Would see with our own eyes the new

World where man was no longer

Wolf to man, but men and women

Were all brothers and lovers

Together. We will not see it.

We will not see it, none of us.

It is farther off than we thought…”

Rest in peace, perturbed spirit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/world/americas/che-guevara-death.html

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Ahhhh,, Allen G. It’s hard to think of a poet who had a bigger influence on me than you. Ezra, yes, perhaps once, tiger cage or not, Kenneth Rexroth and Kenneth Patchen both have opened my eyes to the beauty of taking on a social cause and of love, as has Neruda.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, “

I was one of those angelheaded hipsters, I was one of the frustrated youth, busted without a reason, inclined towards the inevitable decline, ousted with nowhere to go and no way back in, climbing a ladder that I didn’t know didn’t even exist, where are the fucking steps? Where am I going? Following a hollow leader, leading nowhere but up and ending up nowhere but down, tearing my clothes in a flagellants rage, whipping my back with all the insipid uninspired rules of the military, the crucifix burnt into my skull, he is risen he is risen, Dylan, no, not Thomas, Bobby, no not Kennedy, a poet for no one but words for all, a hero running the streets at dawn, now, here in Stockholm luring me into a storm of calmness, denying me my rage until i couldn’t hold it anymore shooting it out into the worlds great gloryhole, with no one on the receiving end,

Well, I digress. Allen was simply one of the great minds of our, or any, generation. It is a pleasure to read and share his work. I’ve been planning on writing something for my 60th birthday a few weeks ago and I still hope to do that soon. It would be massively incomplete if it didn’t include this magnificent fountain, this famously censored HOWL.

Howl by Allen Ginsberg : The Poetry Foundation.

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8 To Read from Gaza

Source: 8 To Read from Gaza

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daninstockholm

Today is the 4th of july, Independence Day in the US. A day when Americans everywhere celebrate their independence from Britain. After a hard fought war and inspired by some brilliant statesmanship,a new nation was born. Big promises were made, a lot of people faced a great deal of hardships then.

I also celebrate Independence Day, I celebrate the 4th of July, even from Stockholm. Not with fireworks and picnics, but with this post. This post is a beginning of a long look at the US. It’s history and it’s role in the world. How did we get here? Are we free? Please, dear reader, check back on these pages after your chicken bbq, after lots of fireworks and hopefully a safe drive home.

Be safe on this day, give a prayer to those who died for promise of freedom and ask yourself what can you do to ensure that…

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daninstockholm

1.
Where have they gone
The young and the proud?

Will we say their names again?
Will we sing their praises on Sundays in church?
Will their photographs hang in Willies’ barbershop windows
Alongside the heroes of World War 2,
The Norman Rockwell prints
And his autographed photos of Ted Williams and Rocky Marciano?

Will there be a celebration of their sacrifices in the town square
The mayor making a speech and mounting a plaque?
The mothers and sisters and wives crying inconsolably?

Or will their fathers hide their grief in bottles of moonshine
The bitterness growing with every drop
Their mothers asking themselves in secrecy what they’ve done wrong
Sisters feeling unprotected without big brother
Little brothers lacking a role model, what chance do they have?
Will no one waltz in the street when their names are mentioned
Or will they merely turn their grief away?

Who will lead…

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