October 16, 2011

Taha Muhammad Ali

From Blue Flower Arts, I saw the the announcement: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Taha Muhammad Ali, poet and person of exceptional powers. We will miss him dearly."

He is best known to an English-speaking audience by a collection of his work in English translation (with facing Arabic), So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971–2005, translated by Peter Cole published in 2006.

Taha Muhammad Ali
at the Dodge Poetry Festival
2006 (photos Lynn Saville)
At the Dodge Poetry Festival in 2006, I heard Taha Muhammad Ali and Peter Cole reading Taha’s powerful (and then unpublished) poem "Revenge" (see video below)

Tea and Sleep
by Taha Muhammad Ali (Palestine)

If, over this world, there’s a ruler
who holds in his hand bestowal and seizure,
at whose command seeds are sewn,
as with his will the harvest ripens,
I turn in prayer, asking him
to decree for the hour of my demise,
when my days draw to an end,
that I’ll be sitting and taking a sip
of weak tea with a little sugar
from my favorite glass
in the gentlest shade of the late afternoon
during the summer.
And if not tea and afternoon,
then let it be the hour
of my sweet sleep just after dawn.

Translator Peter Cole reads "Revenge" in English after Taha reads it in Arabic.

October 3, 2011

Games for National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day 2011 in the UK is Thursday, October 6th. This year's theme is GAMES. They ask that you use the theme for a themed reading, a poetry marathon, a classroom poetry game, a poetry workshop - a poetry prompt.

The Poetry Society in the UK celebrates National Poetry Day with events, like National Poetry Day Live, an event to celebrate National Poetry Day, and this year they will be presenting an afternoon of free events to celebrate this years theme "Games."

Various Poetry Society competitions take place on or around, or have celebrations linked to, National Poetry Day.

The Stanza Poetry Competition winner is announced on National Poetry Day, as are the winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.

The National Poetry Competition closes at the end of October, giving poets inspired by the day time to pen their poems and enter.

Follow @poetrydayuk on Twitter

October 2, 2011

Banned Poems

We just closed Banned Books Week when libraries and bookstores celebrate freadom.

There are banned books read aloud in the Virtual Read-Out at YouTube.

You might also consider banned poems. Poetry.about.com suggested four:
  1. The opening lines of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” from the Fayetteville Library
  2. Heinrich Heine poems (read here by a professor of German at the University of Texas)
  3. To the Rich Givers” and “City of Ships” from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
  4. Shel Silverstein’s “If You Have to Dry the Dishes