All posts filed under: War

‘Tread Softly’ and other poems by Michael J Whelan

DELIVERANCE In the orphanage a child cowers from cursing men outside. She wants to climb back into her dead mother’s womb and hide inside its warm, soft, un-edged safety, where no explanation is needed or reason to hide under splintered staircases or run the gauntlet to basement bomb shelters, existing minute to minute with strangers until the dawn arrives with her deliverance and she refuses to be born. © Michael J. Whelan (Published in Cyphers, Nov 2011) GRAPES OF WRATH   It happens on a Thursday, just after 2pm, when ancient cultures and beliefs conspire and vultures spiral above a peacekeepers’ camp, where cedars age slowly and the Litani River caresses the ground where Jesus turned water into wine, where artillery salvos rip the air on their long flight and bite deep, deep into that place of safety vaporizing its concrete walls and burning and blistering and tearing apart the mass of terrified flesh and innocent blood seeking refuge from the hate of man. A soldier climbs from the rubble limbs and discarded faces, his …

‘Haft Seen’ and other poetry by Shakila Azizzada

Once Upon A Time   in memory of Leila Sarahat Roshani   Granny used to say always keep your magic sack tucked inside your ribcage.   Don’t say the sun’s worn out, don’t say it’s gone astray. Say, I’m coming back.   May the White Demon protect and watch over you. Oh, daughter of the dawn,   perhaps this sorry tale, stuck in the mud, was of your doing.   Take the comb from the sack, throw it in the Black Demon’s path: seven jungles will grow at his feet.   Don’t say heaven’s too far, earth’s too hard. Don’t throw the mirror if you fear the sea and her nymphs.   Don’t say there was, don’t say there wasn’t, trust in the god of fairytales. May Granny’s soul rest in peace.   Give the mirror to Golnar’s mother who, down by the charred vineyards, dreams of birds and fish.   Don’t say the rooftop’s sun’s too brief. Say, I’m coming and this time, forget love’s foolish griefs.   Shake out the sack. In the …

25th Ezra Pound International Conference

“The conference’s main host will be Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s oldest university institution, founded in 1592 and located in the city centre. Our second host and other conference site on Thursday, July 11, will be Mater Dei Institute, the college close to what was Leopold Bloom’s residence at 7 Eccles Street.   The 2013 EPIC will open at Trinity College Dublin on 10 July with a Welcoming Address by the Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. Individual plenary talks by distinguished scholars throughout the week will be on such topics as Pound and Irish Poetry, Pound and other writers (Beckett, Coleridge, Joyce, and Yeats), The Cantos Project, New Translations of Pound’s poetry into German and Italian, the Drafts & Fragments Notebooks, and Doing Justice to Pound. There will also be four days of paper sessions and discussions on a wide range of topics related to Pound’s works, life, and influence.” 25th Ezra Pound International Conference Homepage Registration Schedule  

Transverse threads; two women poets and Homer

The weft of  Margaret Atwood‘s The Penelopiad is contained in and revealed through the chorus voiced by the twelve maids  hung by Telemachus (on Odysseus’ orders) just after the men returned from their manly adventures. Margaret Atwood runs the chorus line throughout her Penelopiad, the executed maids sing their songs at ten intervals in the book. I was struck by a comment that Atwood makes in her notes about the maids. She stated that: ‘The Chorus of Maids is a tribute to such uses of choruses in Greek Drama. The convention of burlesquing the main action was present in the satyr plays before the main drama.’ (Margaret Atwood, Author Notes for The Penelopiad pp. 197-198) I am always interested in how women writers burlesque the heroic perception of the classics through use of device and structural underpinning. In this instance I have been reading Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Alice Oswald‘s Memorial. Both Atwood and Oswald approach Homeric themes in a sidelong fashion to get to the meat of the oral tradition, their poetic focus is decidedly on the lament. Atwood …

‘In The Hug of Arms’; An anthology by Mariela Baeva

Thanks to Mariela Baeva for her legacy project In The Hug Of Arms , an anthology of writing dedicated to the child victims of conflict. I am honoured to be a part of this work with a poem that was initially published in a group called Two Songs of War and a Lyric, by the SouthWord Journal at the Munster Literature Centre. The Poem Gernika was written to be read out at the 75th commemoration of the Guernica Massacre in 2012. About Angelita The image Mariela Baeva chose for her cover is  of a small girl from Anzio called Angelita who died from shrapnel wounds at the end of World War II. The contributors to the Anthology are from,  Uganda, Somalia, Ireland, Russia, Belgium, Angola, the municipality of Anzio (Italy), Pakistan, Lebanon and Bulgaria. The texts are in English, French, Urdu, Somali, Russian (with translations into English). There’s more information about the Anthology at this link. PEN International newsletter is here , PEN