Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11th forum announcement

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

We travel all over the world this week through Poetry & Poets in Rags, to some of the worst places, visiting some of the worst people.

Kicking our trip off, we begin where we began last week, in a jail in Qatar where the poet Mohammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami is being held for a life sentence, often in solitary confinement, for a poem he wrote. What's new to this story is that the emir chose Mohamed bin Saif al-Kuwar, a member of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, to speak to Amy Goodman about the matter, and he babbled and made a fool of both himself and the emir, in what is obviously an indefensible position. Here is the first exchange between them at Democracy Now, which is transcripted from the video:

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that he should be in prison for the rest of his life?

MOHAMED BIN SAIF AL-KUWARI: I mean, in human rights, I can’t--I cannot see should have not, because this is in the court. I mean, this is his case in the court, his case and the judge. I can’t answer this and quickly without to see the file, without to see the cases in details—well, I mean, in deep details. I cannot answer this is OK this is in prison or not. But for human rights in Qatar, always to see this is—this people or this persons will get his rights fully—total rights for him, even in the prisons or in the courts, about the procedure. This is very important with us, is the procedure is according to the international conventions, international laws, also something in human rights.

Even if the Qatari legal system comes full circle to a point of justice, and frees Mohammad al-Ajami, he's already been imprisoned for over a year now and, as we found out last week, his trial was a sham. The emir at this point owes him at least half his fortune, if true justice is to prevail.

From there, we visit the neighborhoods of the drug lords in Mexico, then it's off to Syria, and then to Sri Lanka of last century. This is followed by an interview with Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan. What could follow these articles, but the life and death of the remarkable Portuguese poet Florbela Espanca, in an essay called "Resurrecting the Brother: The Death of Florbela Espanca".

This is an intense week obviously, and one for some excellent poetry too. It is rare that a city gets its first poet laureate, and what follows the announcement is an outpouring of poetry and articles such as what has occurred with Eloise Klein Healy taking the position for Los Angeles. It is quite the poetic celebration. We have a clutch of five articles on the subject, one with an impressive sestina for you form fans.

This touches our first seven of the eleven stories in News at Eleven. There are yet dozens more in Great Regulars, and a few in Poetic Obituaries as well. Thanks for clicking in.


Our links:

IBPC: Poetry & Poets in Rags

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog



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