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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.
  • Enter a link directly to your  poem and your name by clicking Mr Linky below and remember to check the little box to accept the use/privacy policy.
  • 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.

About our guest host:

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.