Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Suheir Hammad at PalFest 2009

Thanks to Marcy Newman for posting on the Literature Festival happening in sites in Palestine these days. Her blog, Body on the Line, contains full descriptions and pictures of the event, as well as Newman's own vituperative prose.


Anonymous said...

i suspect you would also be vituperative if you lived under occupation, too.

Philip Metres said...

Marcy, there is no doubt; I recall emails we exchanged some time back, before you went over, and your tone was different. Having been there, and in other situations where life seemed impossible, I find it completely understandable.

I've wondered for a long time the best way to illuminate the realities on the ground for Palestinians, and to convince Americans that our policies need to change. Your blog provides an enormous service to those of us on the outside. Even if I sometimes wonder if your rhetoric would convince a bystander, I think to how enraging such situations are, and how difficult it is not to respond in kind.

David-Baptiste Chirot said...

i've been posting extensively as well as curating visual poetry/mail art calls at my blog; there is extensive coverage of the palfest, with a permanent sections, fotostream, posters, daily news--
i've read that i am the only american poet/artist to have done this, which is very sad--
what stirkes me very muchis that the atmpeted silemcing of palfest had no coveragein the usa--american poets it seems could care less about poets in palestine being silenced. in fact, the silence re this silencing is a doubled silencing, and, in turn, the silence which shrouds the silence re the silencing creates a third cocoon wrapping concealing not only the events themselves, but the fact there is next to zero coverage or care among us poets and artists-
so much is suppressed in the us that the language itself is become warped ever further into a double talk, a Newspeak, a denial of the material world for the "material word" --
american poets cherish any little item which indicates to them a "fear of poetry" on the part of the "mainstream"--a "fear of the rsdical innovative or just plain poetry"--
this fear so-called does nothing to impede the publication of works, the readings, conferences, bloggings, Poetry Month--indeed the searching for the tiniest crumb of a "fear" is a desperate search for american poets to feel at once marginalized, and, via marginalization, "special" and "superior," an elite which looks down on other poets, peoples and ideas of poetics--
erhaps the suppression of a actual Fear as manifested by the Israelis is not to be thought of, becuase it puts into question the american "fear," as well as the american silence--
in short, it may well be taken to indicate a complicity in the silencing of Palestinian and other poets, a silencing whose being greeted by silence, is itself a silenced topic, because there is a desire --a deep need--to deny that one supports such things, or, that the Israelis do such things--
the only way to justify siding with Apartheid and censorship is to begin to do this oneself, via language of omissions, self censorships, denial and the thick swathes of silencing whcih help create an atmosphere in which anything perceived as remotely critical of Israel becomes the latest thing to be attacked, silenced, condemned--
in many other countries aorund the world, this silencing is regarded as "The New McCarthyism"--a sytematic and far reaching creation of a atmoipshere of fear--not of poetry--butof expressing anyviews at all outof step with theextreme pressure brough to bear to make eveyone thinkthe same, to be unquestioning and in tolerant in the name of not only tolerance, but the acceptance of undemocratic principles a such as Orwell's famous "Al animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
note-i had to stop here as there is a limit re the length of a post one may send at a time-
if acceptable, i could post the rest in two separate messages --
thanks always for your work Phillip!

Philip Metres said...


I occasionally try your website/blog, but recently it's been crashing my system. I've been writing a bunch of poems called "portals" after your art portals related to Gitmo. It would make a good chapbook, I think.