Something a little different this week: recommending a documentary, Poetry of Witness. Poetry of Witness is a 2015 documentary film directed by Billy Tooma and Anthony Cirilo about the lives of six contemporary poets who have lived through, and survived, extremities such as war, torture, exile, and repression, using poetry to preserve their memories.It debuted October 16, 2015 at the Buffalo International Film Festival.
The film documents the struggle of six contemporary poets who have faced the duress of war, exile, and human rights violations to give voice to their experiences while wrestling with the complex moral quandaries of artistic production, memory, and trauma. The poets: Carolyn Forché (Salvadoran Civil War), Saghi Ghahraman (Iranian Revolution), Fady Joudah (Doctors Without Borders), Claudia Serea (Socialist Republic of Romania), Mario Susko (Bosnian War), and Bruce Weigl (Vietnam War) offer first-person accounts of how their experiences as soldier, activist, doctor, and survivor imprint their poetry as evidence of those conflicts, rather than as representations of them.
Buy Poetry of Witness: The Documentary
A Couple of Suggested Anthologies (there are so many more…)
Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness
Award winning poet Carolyn Forché spent 13 years compiling Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. It is an exhaustive and illuminating work of breadth, beauty, wisdom and tragedy.
Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English, 1500 – 2001
More about the Poetry of Witness
Anthony Cirilo Talks about Poetry of Witness
Carolyn Forché talks about the poetry of witness
Poet Carolyn Forché gathers 500 years of suffering in new anthology
Sandra Beasley: “Flint and Tinder – Understanding the Difference Between ‘Poetry of Witness’ and ‘Documentary Poetics’”
More About Against Forgetting at3Generations