Politics of silence and the loudness of poetry

On Friday, there was a mass shooting in Chiapas, Mexico, and seven Tzotzil people were murdered. But there was zero coverage in the English media, because it happened in Mexico and not the US, and because they were original people, not wealthy tourists. The seven people had fled their homes due to violence in the... Continue Reading →

Brave poets don’t just write poetry – On Otto René Castillo

“But I don't shut up and I don't die.I liveand fight, maddeningthose who rule my country. For if I liveI fight,and if I fightI contribute to the dawn.”― Otto Rene Castillo There is a poem stuck to the door of the small room where I work and write, and it's by Otto Rene Castillo. It's about... Continue Reading →

My own soft raging poems

Here are a few of my own poems, written in moments of nostalgia, sadness, and anger. -Tamara Pearson A well-contained crossness she was so silencedher broken glass ragewas sandsitting as little hillsin the landscapes of her feetshe stayed a mother and wifewell after the man and children were goneunable to pronounceher needsNo one, no place,... Continue Reading →

If you “offer your dreams to death” – Nahuatl poems in English

My Náhuatl They say my language, Náhuatlhas had her head cut off,her feet bound togetherand her eyes blindfolded.I, a man from Atzacoaloya,will show otherwise:Náhuatl has a head,quick feetand an insurmountable gaze. I am surethat she walksarms free, her soulbeating like the heartof an oak forest -By Martín Tonalmeyotl Nonauatlajtol Kijtouaj kampa notlajtol nauatlyokechtejkej,yokikxisalojkejniman yokixtlapachojkej.Najua uan... Continue Reading →

3 brutal poems for women: Rare age, fairy tales, and a monster protest

The following three poems are hard and liberating. Read them out loud and with one fist clenched. Laura Passin is a writer and scholar specialising in contemporary US poetry and gender studies. I am not old - by Samantha Reynolds I am not old, she said I am rare I am the standing ovation at... Continue Reading →

3 emotional, powerful, brilliant spoken word poems

There's something super intimate - politically intimate- about watching people speak their own poems, seeing the face and feelings that go with the piece of soul and struggle contained in the words. Beck Cooper - Alone in a Bathroom Vernell Bristow - Kalgo Tree Jenesis Fonseca - "The Way to a Woman's Heart"

Freedom of expression – Mayakovsky

The first night They approach And pick a flower from our garden And we don’t say anything. The second night, No longer hiding, they Stomp on the flowers, kill our dog, And we don’t say anything. Until one day The weakest of them Enters our house alone Robs us of light, and, Knowing our fear,... Continue Reading →

Writing: For Love or Money? by Roberta Sykes

It's good to write for money, It's the only way to go, Forget starving in the attic. Who can afford attic anyhow? Let me prostitute my talents -be a martyr for the arts - 'Cause without the lovely greenbacks I'll just be another tart … Hawking rhythm up at King's Cross, Flogging poems and rhymes... Continue Reading →

Poem: When the climate comes for you – Kamala Emanuel

Past sick sadistic tyrants made each victim dig their grave, Mowed them down without mercy, in wave after wave. But now heat is the trigger set for the many by the few Will you be ready when the climate comes for you? In Karachi they’ll be ready when the tide of death rolls in When... Continue Reading →

Shake the dust: Anis Mojgani

This is for the fat girls This is for the little brothers This is for the schoolyard wimps and the childhood bullies that tormented them For the former prom queen and for the milk crate ball players For the nighttime cereal eaters And for the retired elderly Walmart store front door greeters Shake the dust... Continue Reading →

where refugees had to go

little singing birds are diving into the fire the smell of burning bird of suicided song is mistaken for a dark day in Australia overcast skies, the weather reader reports (Hodan Yasin and Omid Masoumali, young refugees from Somalia and Iran and detained by Australia, set themselves on fire within a week of each other)... Continue Reading →

Little poem: What I Mean When I Say Survivor

This is one of Brenna Twohy's shorter poems, honest and confronting and for basic female dignity, as always. I, too have loved men who named my mouth ashtray, mistook me for a place to leave burning things when they were done.

3 strong women and their bold poetry that just says it how it is

The Joys of Motherhood - FreeQuency "...who will see criminal before child... I can't take it for granted that they won't kill my son... there's something about being Black in America that has made motherhood sound like mourning ..." Used - Shelby Birch "He called me a queen and I blushed, but it wasn't because... Continue Reading →

Littlebits from poems about strongliving

Sometimes minds come together and make new things in a conversation. Sometimes different people's poems and stories meet, shake hands, and unseen magic lingers among the warmth... Here are some excerpts from the poems of a mate and a luchadora, from her books No God but Ghosts and Monsters and other Silent Creatures ... April in... Continue Reading →

“White men who think their flat cold spiky words make the only reality.”

Languages on their own can be tools of power or resistance... Shailja Patel's "Dreaming in Gujarati": (excerpts) I am six in a playground of white children Darkie, sing us an Indian song! Eight in a roomful of elders all mock my broken Gujarati English girl! Through the years I watch Gujarati swell the swaggering egos of... Continue Reading →

Out of suffering…

Some Palestinians take grenades and use them as flower pots or for seedlings. Sudanese torture survivors have become councilors for other survivors. How do we recover from suffering? We name it and transform it into its opposite: We fill the craters left by the bombs And once again we sing And once again we sow... Continue Reading →

Christmas was the ‘gift’ brought by the invasion to Latin America

Langston Hughes wrote this poem about Christmas 85 years ago, and it still matters. A U.S. based African-American activist and one of the innovators of Jazz Poetry, he promoted racial awareness, wrote novels, stories, poems and more. Merry Christmas, China From the gun-boats in the river, Ten-inch shells for Christmas gifts, And peace on earth... Continue Reading →

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