REMINDER! Two chances to join OLN LIVE this month!
Thursday, May 18, from 3 to 4 PM EST
AND Saturday, May 20, from 10 to 11 AM EST.
You may still link one poem as usual for OLN (Open Link Night) even if you do not attend a live session.
Hi everyone! We have a guest host, Paul of Parallax, handling today’s Poetics – Grace
Hello and welcome to the Poets Pub! Paul of Parallax here from down under with a fully stocked bar for every need you might have and I’ll throw in some Anzac biscuits, macadamias and, pavlova. There’s even wattle seed tea in the billy.
I’m inviting you to do justice! One of the things that occupies my heart and mind are writers who are caged, incarcerated or harassed, often for no reason other than the act of writing. There isn’t one continent or nation where this hasn’t been true at some point, and currently there are many, including poets, who remain imprisoned for their craft across the world.
In Australia Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish/Iranian journalist and writer, was held on Manus Island for four years and in PNG for another two, until New Zealand offered to take him as a migrant.
The Gujarati poet Parul Khakhar was reprimanded for her poem referencing Covid 19 and bodies in the Ganges – ‘Shavvahini Ganga’ (Ganges the Carrier of Corpses) – read this article “Flogged, imprisoned, murdered: today, being a poet is a dangerous job’ by Tishani Doshi for more detail. Her subsequent poem is entitled “You Are Not To Speak” a witty riposte in my view.
Depending on where you live and when, it is certainly dangerous to be a poet if you choose to draw attention to the failings of leadership, policy, and decision making, let alone opposing war and standing up for human rights. Many of you would be familiar with the work of PEN International (branches in most countries) the writers association who promote and defend writers who become prisoners of conscience. Amnesty International also offer support for writers who are imprisoned or unfairly targeted. The existence of such organisations informs us that writing can be dangerous.
So, my invitation is to write a poem, using any form, that highlights the plight of those poets imprisoned for their craft. There are themes of injustice, deprivation, cruelty, isolation, racism, corruption, exclusion, and more. It doesn’t have to be a formal protest about the poet’s circumstance, it can be a letter (epistle) of encouragement to the poet, a documentary of their life as a writer, an allegory perhaps. Whatever way you choose to go, you must speak to justice for the poet as voice to the world. Can you cry out for justice?
I’m sure you have someone in mind, but in case you draw a blank – here are three poets currently in prison with a little information to stir your thoughts:
You may need to provide a little note regarding the poet you are writing about or at least a link to more information for context.
If you go here you can read three poems for and poems by Ilhan Sami Comak who has been in a Turkish prison for 27 years. He was arrested as an activist and later became a poet in prison.
Here is a YouTube video of Chris Lin reading a poem by the imprisoned Burmese writer Maung Yu Py.
If you are new, here’s how to join:
- Write a poem in response to the challenge in your blog.
- There you will find links to other poets, and more will join during the next 48 hours so check back to read other entries.
- Read and comment on other poet’s work, we all go here to have our poems read
- Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.
- Comment and participate in our discussion below, if you like.
- Have fun.
Paul is a writer who lives in the southwestern corner of Western Australia at a place called Augusta (the place where two oceans meet a river). Paul is married to Lyn and they have two adult children who have their own families. Paul began writing poetry in high school and then more seriously in 2013, publishing daily on his blog from 2017. He is currently editing his first volume of poetry. Family, gardening, hiking, painting, renovating, and writing compete for his time. “I love being creative and creativity comes out of the contemplative for me.” I was until recently a parish priest and formation director, but I would now call myself an interspiritual person, or spiritually independent person ever engaging with mystery.
Hi everyone! Thanks to Paul for being our guest host. I have learned a lot more about these poets and can really appreciate the freedom that we have to write.
We have tea and coffee as well as pies and tarts on the house. I look forward to reading your poems.
Thank you Grace, enjoyed the opportunity to share.
Good evening all, and welcome to Paul, who is hosting today with a challenging, worthy prompt to get us all thinking and writing. As it has been a warmer day here in the UK, I would love a mango and passion fruit smoothie with plenty of ice, with a few strawberries on the side, please!
One summery mango/passion fruit smoothie coming up Kim. Looking forward to reading your poem soon.
Hello Grace and Paul and All! I can hear Paul snoring from a hemisphere away. Grace, while Paul is getting his last few dreams in, could you please pour me a hot cup of rooibos tea with a shot of Baileys? Thanks much.
I am actually up, it’s 3.11 here, i have my eyes propped open. Your drinks are on the way.
Ah, Paul! Looks like Grace got me the tea, but could you also pour me a whiskey to drink to your prompt. Thank you for it, as it helped me learn some about a very important poet.
O good, I will indeed – coming up. Yes, I can only say me too – lots of learning and certainly gratitude for my physical freedom.
Cheers, my friend!
Yes, I concur, both to the whiskey and my own learning 🙂 Thank you Lisa.
Wow! That is dedication!!
Well it looks like Paul is awake now. Here is your hot cup of tea with a shot of Baileys (I love that).
Cheers, Dear Grace ❤
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I love the theme and there are so many prisoners currently in prison around the world… and there has been prisoners of thought also here in the past.
Sadly so Bjorn, and yes prisoners of thought too. I often feel captive to poetry.
Hi Bjorn! Yes I recall that we did have 1 poet here before, who was actually writing from prison. I wondered what has happened to him. How difficult it must be to write behind the prison bars.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Sean… he was a young convicted felon and I believe his grandmother brought his poetry as well as ours printed on paper back and forth.
Hi Kim. This prompt made me realized the freedom of writing and learned more about their plight. Here’s the yummy fruit smoothie for you with ice and strawberries. (I will join you).
Hi everyone! Paul, I would like to thank you for sharing about Parul Khakhar. You have certainly made us appreciate the freedom of expression we have and which is denied to so many. I am looking forward to many stirring poems. Thanks for hosting.
thank you Punam, I was inspired by Parul – how a poet can speak into the moment. I share your looking forward to the offerings of poems too.
You are welcome, Paul. Will read in the morning. 🙂
Well it’s 4.00 a.m. here and I need a nap, so I’ll come back later to catch up.
A great prompt, Paul. Thanks for hosting this evening. I will have a tall Cider with ice!
My pleasure. One tall cider is coming up Dwight. Looking forward to coming over to read your response.
Thank you very much!
Very welcome Dwight 🙂
Hey Paul; Grace & fellow d’Verse folks! 😁Here’s the link to my contribution to the prompt. Sorry for the delay in getting it posted. And thanks Paul for quite a thought provoking and important prompt! 🙏😁👏