30 April 2017
I asked for a dream before going to sleep last night, a dream that would help me to solve a problem, answer a question I had. In the ways in which I was raised, dreams were just one of multiple ways of learning, ways of knowing.
Unlike mainstream Western culture, which tends to limit ‘knowing’ to what is categorized as ‘rational,’ indigenous cultures across the globe recognize multiple sources of knowledge an individual or community possess and can access, including traditional wisdom, dreaming, land knowing, symbols and images, shared knowledge through connectivity, and story, among others.
Make art about ways of knowing.
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.
More about the 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
The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished. -Ming-Dao Deng