First Published: 2011-12-10

 

Poetry explores theme of journeys at Bristol Palestine Film Festival

 

First poetry reading in Bristol of 'Poetry for Palestine', part of Bristol’s first Palestinian Film Festival, explores theme of journeys.

 

Middle East Online

By Katherine Vanessa Whiteley - BRISTOL

Palestinian poet Iqbal Tamimi

Poetry in a stark white room hung with photographs and artwork of Palestine. No heating this cold December night at Stokes Croft’s Hamilton House, a site representing a groundroots movement of positive social change. This first poetry reading in Bristol of “Poetry for Palestine,” part of Bristol’s first Palestinian Film Festival, explored the theme of Journeys.

Even the percussion workshop upstairs couldn’t compete with the poets on this night.

Poet Julie-ann Rowell described the evening as: a mixture of eloquent appraisal of the situation in Palestine and the alienation, heartache brought about by migration whether forced or not. How journeys change us, bring awareness and understanding of how others live, and our part in the world.

Sue Boyle, poet, and organiser of Bath Poetry Cafe: This was a wonderful evening of raw and passionate poetry. Iqbal and Yazan read and spoke from the heart of their experience of the tragedy and suffering of the Palestinian people and the audience was gripped by the power and emotion of what they had to say.

The truth and pain of Iqbal Tamimi’s poems on Palestine were so poignant people were moved to tears. The poet John Terry said: Her poems were amazingly powerful and one can only imagine the impact they must have in the original Arabic. It is exceptional poetry which has the ability to survive translation.

Iqbal read six poems titled Humiliation, Separation, Repatriation, Desperation, Dedication and Occupation that work together to give the listener a vivid portrayal of what it is to be a Palestinian refugee. Occupation describes a homeland

Where the houses miss their doors

And crouch at borders

Waiting for their orphaned keys.

Julie-ann’s wonderful reading focused on Ireland. One of her poems Union is a remembrance of the brief exchange gaze and smiles between strangers at different times in different parts of the world and she asks

Indian girl, Belfast girl, I wonder

if I am part of your imagination,

do you return to my face in the rest

of evening, in reverberations of home,

the cleaning of dishes, the writing of a lyric.

Sue Boyle’s yet unpublished prose poem The Ark is a powerful allegory on the concept of Chosenness that describes those on the ark pushing their nearest neighbours back into the water to drown because they have not been chosen by God.

It begins:

You could not fault its construction. Gopher and cedar wood, caulked and pinned, every curve perfect to its purpose, every joint sharp as a shark’s tooth in its long jaw. Much later, people would compare the ark with a zeppelin, monstrous and menacing, drifting across the apparent sky of the drowned world, turning its blind face to the dreadful sea.

John Terry began the evening with the claim to have the shortest journey of all the poets there. His poem The death of Vincent de Groof describes how the wings of a flying machine collapsed in 1874 and the Belgian inventor plunged to his death in the streets of Chelsea.

Some reports

say he fell five hundred feet, others,

merely the height of a church spire.

Unimportant. The drop would have killed

anyone. Even in Chelsea.

Yazan Abu Jbara read Canadian-Palestinian Rafeef Ziadah's ‘Savage, Terrorist’ whose repeat lines I am your Savage, your terrorist are as unforgettable as the olive oil Ziadah tells us her mother rubbed in my hair and in my skin until the smell of Palestine seeped through to my veins.

The evening was a verbal and emotional rollercoaster, said poet Alana Farrell. As a member of the audience I boarded poems that took me into the dark, with words that lit the way. The poets, especially Iqbal, read with a rare seriousness and passion.

 

Drone strike kills at least 30 ‘Qaeda’ suspects in south Yemen

Without proof, France fires new chemical accusations at Assad regime

Kuwait shuts two papers for breaking news blackout on 'coup tape'

Twitter seeks to end ‘war’ with Erdogan: Two ‘leak accounts’ blocked!

Female candidates push rights issue to fore of Iraq election campaign

Rouhani engages in sweet talk: Iran women not second class citizens

Involvement in violent protests sends Morsi supporters behind bars

Suicide bomber targets Imam Kadhim University in Baghdad

Worse yet to come in South Sudan: Three-year-old nation on brink of collapse

Assad visits Maalula to celebrate ‘victory’ and ‘Easter’

Islamists kill 11 soldiers in worst attack on Algeria army in years

Kidnappers of Tunisian diplomat demand jailed Libyans release

Landmine blasts Tunisia soldier amid growing jihadist threat

Marzouki sets an 'example' by cutting salary by two-thirds

Rouhani: Iran does not intend to be aggressive but can defend itself

Turkey to Russia: We demand a gas price revision

An extraordinary meeting: Gulf ministers agree to end tension with Qatar

US releases $450 million Iranian frozen assets

‘Retaliation is life’ group vows to attack Egypt security forces

For Massacre-scarred Algeria village, peace is worth more than wealth

An act of heroism: Iraq policeman sacrifices himself to shield army recruits

UK ‘determined to catch’ killer of Libya embassy policewoman

Experts: Washington demanded removal of Saudi spy chief

Future of Algeria on wheelchair

Palestinians rally for solidarity with Israel-held prisoners

Turkey may clinch bid to dismantle Italy’s wrecked ship

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to hold meeting with US envoy

UN ‘gravely concerned’ about South Sudan oil state fighting

South Sudan war: Child soldiers consumed by desire for retribution

Algerians casting their vote for president

Syria world’s most perilous country fro journalists

Egypt jails ex-presidential hopeful for fraud

Egypt leftist leader urges all revolutionary groups to unite

Jordan ‘destroyed’ combat vehicles entering from Syria

South Sudan army loses key oil town of Bentiu

Lebanon parliament soon to elect new president

Zarif to discuss Caspion Sea states in Russia

MERS spreading in Saudi Arabia

Algeria finally opens its piggybank to lure back exiled youth

Suicide bombs rock Ramadi government compound

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza blast

Peace talks delayed after Palestine blamed for fatal shooting

Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Al-Aqsa

Undercover New York police unit that spied on Muslims disbanded

Washington will not issue visa for Iran UN envoy