Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Blog

The Arab American Institute is helping to collect Arab American poems for an upcoming poetry anthology on the universal struggle for equality, human rights, and survival.

Doug Valentine, author of a number of non-fiction historical exposes (including The Phoenix Program) and several poetry anthologies, is collecting contributions from all parts of the globe, including conflict zones in Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and of course, the Middle East.

“We already have a noted Tunisian poet, but I am actively reaching out to poets from the Islamic nations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, that have borne the brunt of the global war on terror, and historically have suffered under imperial powers,” he writes in his invitation for submissions. “It would be ideal to contrast such poems with those of American veterans of the Iraq invasion and so called ‘war on terror’ of the last ten years.”

Arab Americans have also been uniquely impacted by the war on terror on the struggle for equal rights. If you or someone you know would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please email Jade at jzoghbi@aaiusa.org

You can see Mr. Valentine’s full invitation for submissions below.

 

To All Interested Poets,

I'm putting together an anthology of poems from around the world.  The general subject is the cost in human terms of imperial wars of aggression, but also struggle in every sense - for civil rights, for equality, or just to survive.

The plan is to number 50-60 poets with perhaps 150 poems in a quality, soft-cover anthology of around 200 pages. I hope people will contribute a new poem written specifically for the project, but certainly – as seems to be the trend – poems they have already published or have on-hand are acceptable. In either case, they will retain the rights to any poems they contribute.

Poems should not be more than 2-3 pages long. Poets may send as many as they like, although the plan is not use more than three poems from any individual poet.

To give you a sense of the scope of the project, we have an American poet who spent time in Darfur and writes about his experience there. It would be ideal, however, if we could reach out to poets in Africa, so that his poems can be presented in conjunction with theirs. That is the vision: that poets from around the world will show there is a commonality in our human response to "terror" in all its manifestations.

One member is reaching out to poets in Mauritania, Sudan and South Africa.   Ideally I will be able to juxtapose the poems of black American radical poets with those of anti-apartheid activists.  

A poet could write about being bullied in school, or about a woman wanting to be a priest in the Catholic Church, and it would fit. I hope to reach women writers in Afghanistan.

Two major Chilean poets have joined in, but we need more poets from Latin America, where so many people have been involved in political struggle against repression and imperialism, at great expense. One contributor has graciously offered to do translations from Spanish.

 We have an eminent poet and Vietnam veteran, as well as noted Vietnamese-American poet who will bring several Vietnamese poets into the project, and a Cambodian-American poet who will translate Cambodian poets. Having poets from China and Korea would be ideal.

Poets from India are participating and hopefully we will soon have Pakistani poets as well.

We already have a noted Tunisian poet, but I am actively reaching out to poets from the Islamic nations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, that have borne the brunt of the global war on terror, and historically have suffered under imperial powers. It would be ideal to contrast such poems with those of American veterans of the Iraq invasion and so called "war on terror" of the last ten years.

Ideally we will have the poems of Palestinians beside those of Israeli peace activists.

I am also reaching out to poets across Europe, but especially in Central and Southeast Europe. The project needs women from all nation writing about the terrors of gender violence and discrimination.

There are many other categories and possibilities, some of which are already being explored. All ideas are welcome.

I'm the author of a book about the CIA's Phoenix program in Vietnam, as well as two books about America's global war on drugs. I have studied the "psychological warfare" methods of the US Government, and am aware that people need to resist the influence of billion dollar propaganda machines through powerful words of their own (See my website douglasvalentine.com).

I will concentrate on American publishers once we have reached a critical mass of 25 published poets with some degree of recognition who are committed to the project. I'm hoping to find a publisher with an experienced editor to make quality assurance decisions.

Contributing poets will, as of now, agree to donate their poems in hopes of inspiring people to read and write political poetry, as well as to provide readers with memorable words and insights to face the spiritual challenges of the new world. If money is made, perhaps we can put it in a fund for some charitable cause, or simply use it to distribute the anthology to schools. Again, all ideas are welcome.

Poets will receive complimentary copies of the anthology, of course.

Please let me know if you would like to contribute. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them. Thanks again, and all the best wishes,

Douglas Valentine

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