13 January 2018
Thinking a lot about the ancestors, about how my DNA report reads like a mini United Nations, about the courage and desperation and desire they must have felt, possessed, to leave their homelands, from eleven different regions of the globe, leaving all they knew, for all kinds of reasons, some forced and others willing, escaping starvation, violence, but all without any idea of what lay before them.
Did they all know they would never go home again? What will it must have taken to survive. Do I carry that same strength of will? Do I honor what it took, what they went through. with my own life? A life I owe them?
Make art about who dances in your blood.
28 October 2017
Make art about the shapes of persistence, of resilience.
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