Jacana Media has generously made available the three poems up for the 2014 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award. HERE is the link. My poem, “Illegal, Undocumented,” is part of my manuscript SKY FOR SILENT WINGS (or OSAMA, YOU ARE NOW OPEN COUNTRY… or THE MAN WHO WISHED HE WAS LEGO… yup, I still haven’t made up my mind which title to use, and neither has my fictitious publisher decided to accept it or not… maybe I should dream of another publisher?).
Category Archives: Europe
Jumping up and down at Checkers
Checkers is one of the big supermarket chains here in SA. They must have to deal with massive numbers of people who come to their premises – mainly to do their shopping, one hopes. Security, a word that means the opposite in some (most?) cases, has become a major concern to most businesses in this country, particularly as the holiday season approaches. The rise of armed robberies at shopping malls is a disturbing reality that shoppers here now face. In fact, one such incident had taken place just a few weeks ago at the particular mall we frequent.
This post has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the way I must have looked to the personnel monitoring the security screens at a Checkers when my beaten up cellphone notified me of an email. My daughter who was standing next to me thought her father had gone bonkers. I was trying very hard not to jump up and down. I was also beaming at every stranger who walked past. I was, to put it mildly, overwhelmed by a most unexpected news.
The official announcement has just been released, so I am posting it here. I have been warned that maybe I am blowing my own horn… sometimes a little too loudly. I want to think of it as sharing some good news. Here it is. Books LIVE has the same announcement up.
Day of Rage and a previously posted poem, “Rent a Horror Movie”
After seeing Jon Snow’s “Unseen Gaza,” many years ago, I wrote a poem called “Rent a Horror Movie.” It is full of rage, but one that is like a fist in the dark. HERE IS THE LINK TO THE POEM.
The following is taken from the BDS Movement.
Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage
Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.
As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.
Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.
From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words. Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.
While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.
This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel. Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!
We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.
– See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/gaza-calling-all-out-on-saturday-9-august-day-of-rage-12423#sthash.NW8glK7y.dpuf
Far and Near
I’ve been meaning to share thoughts on many things – the elections in South Africa, the unsubtle threats of China to take over the water and other resources of other countries, the change of seasons in my part of the world, and some other random matters. But as often happens, the real world crashes down on my intentions.
Now a few bits of news I really have to share.
In the past few weeks I received copies of publications where my poetry appeared. It is always good when a poem finds a home somewhere I myself may never visit. Well, who knows, really? Maybe one day someone will sponsor me to fly all the way to…
LEBANON. Rusted Radishes, published by … (drum roll) … the American University of Beirut. The excellent editors liked my poem “If Palestine were a Treasured Painting.” It is a beautiful publication full of interesting graphics and bold writing.
The poem is part of my unpublished manuscript, Sky for Silent Wings, which is still hoping for a publisher.
The next country my work found a home is… FRANCE via the anthology of contemporary South African poetry edited by Denis Hirson. It’s a handsome book – tall and elegant. Everything about it just makes me wish I could read and write in French! The three poems included are “Chameleon Caress,” (which originally appeared in my book Alien to Any Skin) “People Who Live with Lions” and “That Feather Could be Yours Someday.” I was a late addition to the anthology, and I’m thankful to Robert Berold for introducing my poetry to Denis Hirson.
Two poems in Poppy Road Review and another good news
Early versions of two poems were accepted and published on Poppy Road Review on 10 May 2014. Around the same time one of the manuscripts I put together was accepted for publication. Both poems will be in the new book hopefully to be released in 2015 by my faithful publisher, University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. I said “early versions” because I have since revised the poems and the final versions will be in A THOUSAND EYES.
Thank you to all my readers.
I’m Being Petty, but it makes me happy! (TRANSITIONS Table of Contents)
I laugh at the drop of a hat. Or a hat staying on someone’s head when it should’ve been blown away by the wind. Or just a hat with or without a cat. Or the absence of a hat that used to make me laugh – well, a sad laugh then.
So this makes me ecstatic – seeing my name in the table of contents of Modern Poetry in Translation‘s latest issue, the last one to be edited by David and Helen Constantine, and the first one with incoming editor Sasha Dugdale.
I grabbed this image off the MPT website, so sorry for the low resolution. If you are able to buy a copy of the issue, please do. If you work for or are in touch with libraries – in the Philippines or wherever in the world – please request the staff to subscribe to MODERN POETRY IN TRANSLATION. It is an amazing publication. A bridge of words, ideas and worlds across time.
This is probably not my last post regarding Transitions. Wait til I get my copy from the post! 🙂
It’s Like the First Time Again
I’m stopping myself from rambling … just wanted to post this bit of news for now until my excitement settles down (less likely to say something stupid haha).
That amazing project started by Ted Hughes in the 60s is still going strong – Modern Poetry in Translation – and they are launching a new issue soon. I’m in it!!!!
‘Transitions’, is jointly edited by David and Helen Constantine and the poet and translator Sasha Dugdale, who will succeed them as Editor from 2013.
Thank you, David and Helen, for letting me in. Welcome to Sasha! Can’t wait to see the issue.
TPP – ever heard of it?
Apparently it’s something like the Death Star. Need I say more?
Follow the links and find out for yourself:
ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION
The Truth is…
The Chagos Islanders and the War on Democracy
I posted a poem some time ago, “Rounding Up the Dogs of the Children Who Died of Sadness,” but a recent article from John Pilger that appeared in The New Statesman made me remember it. Here’s the poem’s link – https://matangmanok.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/rounding-up-the-dogs-of-the-children-who-died-of-sadness/
And here is Pilger’s article link: http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2012/01/pilger-obama-war-britain
Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos Islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in phenomenal natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling, girls!”
Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said: “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving, [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”
In the early 1960s, the Labour government of Harold Wilson secretly agreed to a demand from Washington that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be “swept” and “sanitised” of its 2,500 inhabitants so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia. “They knew we were inseparable from our pets,” said Lisette. “When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts; hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks’ exhausts. You could hear them crying.”
Lisette, her family and hundreds of the other islanders were forced on to a rusting steamer bound for Mauritius, a journey of a thousand miles. They were made to sleep in the hold on a cargo of fertiliser – bird shit. The weather was rough; everyone was ill; two of the women on board miscarried.
Dumped on the docks at Port Louis, Lisette’s youngest children, Jollice and Regis, died within a week of each other. “They died of sadness,” she said. “They had heard all the talk and seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. They knew they were leaving their home for ever. The doctor in Mauritius said he could not treat sadness.”
This act of mass kidnapping was carried out in high secrecy. In one official file, under the heading “Maintaining the Fiction”, the Foreign Office legal adviser exhorts his colleagues to cover their actions by “reclassifying” the population as “floating” and to “make up the rules as we go along”. Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says the “deportation or forcible transfer of population” is a crime against humanity. That Britain had committed such a crime – in exchange for a $14m discount off a US Polaris nuclear submarine – was not on the agenda of a group of British “defence” correspondents flown to the Chagos by the Ministry of Defence when the US base was completed. “There is nothing in our files,” said the MoD, “about inhabitants or an evacuation.”
Today, Diego Garcia is crucial to America’s and Britain’s war on democracy. The heaviest bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan was launched from its vast airstrips, beyond which the islanders’ abandoned cemetery and church stand like archaeological ruins. The terraced garden where Lisette laughed for the camera is now a fortress housing the “bunker-busting” bombs carried by bat-shaped B-2 aircraft to targets on two continents; an attack on Iran will start here. As if to complete the emblem of rampant, criminal power, the CIA added a Guantanamo-style prison for its “rendition” victims and called it Camp Justice.