Chilean poet Pablo Neruda remembered


This video says about itself:

13 July 2016

Celebrating the life of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who was born 112 years ago. While still remembered all over the world for his Nobel Prize-winning poetry, Neruda also held strong political convictions that may have even led to his death.

Liebster Award, thank you Jyotee!


Liebster Award

My dear blogging friend Jyotee of the poetry blog Life is all about PAIN has been so kind to nominate my blog for the Liebster Award.

Thank you so much for this generous gesture!

The rules of the Liebster Award are:

Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate bloggers for the award. Notify them on their blogs.

Answer ten questions.

The ten questions and my replies are:

1. What was your first post on WordPress; provide the link?

I started blogging at other sites in 2005. However, these sites stopped. On 8 December 2011, I wrote my first blog entry especially on WordPress; it was about the Occupy Wall Street movement in the USA.

2. If you are given a chance to meet people following you in WordPress who would you meet first and why?

At the moment, 3,697 people subscribe to my blog. I value all of them; this number makes it hard to single out one person.

3. When do you generally write, morning, daytime, evening or night?

Usually morning, daytime, evening.

4. What is the piece of writing you wrote that is close to your heart?

A poem I wrote in 1999 about the war on Yugoslavia in that year.

Here is its English translation:

Milica Rakic

Milica Rakic from Belgrade.
Milica Rakic never voted for Milosevic.
Milica Rakic is three years old.

Milica Rakic learns a new word every hour.
Milica, do you see that butterfly?
Milica, that is a blackbird.
There, Milica, a dragonfly flies.
Fairy’s horse, vilan konjic, in Serbo-Croatian.

Milica Rakic did not become an ugly fourteen-year-old girl.
Milica Rakic did not become a beautiful fifty-eight-year-old woman.
Milica Rakic will not become a hairdresser.
Milica Rakic will not become a world-famous author.

Between Milica’s blood, the bomb splinters,
in Latin script,
Made in USA.
Or: Made in my country?

5. What is writing for you?

One of my favourite activities.

6. How often do you write?

If I am somewhere where there is an Internet connection, then I usually write every day.

7. If you have to choose between writing and wealth, what would you choose and why?

If I would be offered wealth, on condition that I would never write anything again, then I would refuse the wealth. As there is so much to write about.

8. Best and most beautiful thing of your life?

Birds.

9. Source of inspiration for writing?

I have many sources. There are forty categories of subjects on my blog.

10. What type of person are you (in five words)?

Pro-peace, love for animals.

My nominees are:

1. Paris: People, Places and Bling

2. beautifulkindofthoughts

3. zoe169

4. Denisa Aricescu Poezii

5. JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

6. Paris & Les Deux-Sèvres en photographies

7. TheReporterandTheGirlMINUSTheSuperman!

8. Animalcouriers

9. Clanmother

10. Noir

United States pro-peace priest Daniel Berrigan, RIP


This video from the USA says about itself:

RIP Father Daniel Berrigan: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Antiwar Priest & Poet

2 May 2016

We spend the hour remembering the life and legacy of the legendary antiwar priest, Father Daniel Berrigan. He died on Saturday, just short of his 95th birthday. Berrigan was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called “American military imperialism.”

Along with his late brother Phil, Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the antiwar and antidraft movement during the late 1960s, as well as the movement against nuclear weapons.

He was the first Catholic priest to land on the FBI’s most wanted list. In early 1968, Father Daniel Berrigan made international headlines when he traveled to North Vietnam with historian Howard Zinn to bring home three U.S. prisoners of war. Later that year, Father Dan Berrigan, his brother Phil and seven others took 378 draft files from the draft board in Catonsville, Maryland. Then, in the parking lot of the draft board office, the activists set the draft records on fire using homemade napalm to protest the Vietnam War.

They became known as the Catonsville Nine and invigorated the antiwar movement by inspiring over 100 similar acts of protest. It also shook the foundation of the tradition-bound Catholic Church. Then, in 1980, the Berrigan brothers and six others began the Plowshares Movement when they broke into the General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, hammered nuclear warhead nose cones and poured blood onto documents and files. They were arrested and charged with over 10 different felony and misdemeanor counts, and became known as the Plowshares Eight.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called “It was the Happiest Day of My Life”: Martin Sheen Recalls His Arrest Alongside Father Dan Berrigan.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called Dan Berrigan in His Own Words: Antiwar Priest Speaks About 9/11 in Democracy Now! Studios in 2002.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called Friends Remember Fr. Dan Berrigan: “He Said He Didn’t Believe in Heroes, He Believed In Community”.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called In 2006 Interview, Fr. Dan Berrigan Recalls Confronting Defense Secretary McNamara over Vietnam War.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called “The Cause is the Heart’s Beat”: See Father Berrigan Recite His Poem “Some” in 2006.

This 2 May 2016 video from the USA is called “His World Was Always Filled with Such Beauty”: Frida Berrigan on Her Uncle, Priest Daniel Berrigan.

Shakespeare and British poetry today


This 2012 video says about itself:

Shakespeare Sonnet 18 performed by 8 year old child actress Alexis Rosinsky.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

‘All of human life in a poetic instant’

Saturday 23rd April 2016

o mark the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death, Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann invited 30 leading contemporary poets to respond to Shakespeare’s sonnets in their own form, voice and style. The resulting book is, they say, a unique poetic celebration of a writer whose work ‘contains multitudes’.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE died on April 23 1616, which may have been his birthday. That his life should seemingly end on the anniversary of the day it began is apt, for Shakespeare’s death represents the start of a long and vibrant afterlife for the poet’s works.

Shakespeare’s plays and poems have continued to be read and performed around the world, translated into every language imaginable, and reinterpreted in every possible way.

Our book seeks to continue the tradition of reinventing Shakespeare, while also serving to commemorate his writing in the year of the quatercentenary of his death.

The poems they produced appear alongside the sonnets with which they engage most closely. At times this engagement is detailed and sustained; at others a single word, phrase, metaphor or fleeting feeling prompted their imaginations to take flight. In all instances it is Shakespeare’s language, his verbal brilliance, the dazzling way that he crystallises all of human life into a poetic instant, which our poets respond to.

While such virtuosic qualities are on display throughout his works, they are perhaps most potently captured in his sonnets; 154 poems of 14 lines of interwoven rhyme, first published in 1609, that form a loose sequence.

Shakespeare’s sonnets are at once the apex of the form, representing the heights of what it can achieve, and also an afterword to a poetic tradition that had dominated literary fashion some 20 years earlier: the 1590s saw sonnet sequences by Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Richard Barnfield, Samuel Daniel and others and it may have been during this period that Shakespeare first worked on his own poems.

An element of belatedness is central to our understanding of the sonnets, and to this book. Our poets, like Shakespeare himself, are returning to a form that is itself propelled by the logic of return, as its rhyme sounds constantly bring the reader back to preceding lines, making the past vividly present in the current moment.

One of the preoccupations of Shakespeare’s series is with how the poet and his lovers will be remembered after they are gone. As such, the sonnets make a particularly fitting place at which to pause and commemorate Shakespeare himself.

The themes of loss, grief, the passing of time, mortality, and posthumous remembrance that pervade the sequence have proved enduring. Our own poets frequently take them up and, like Shakespeare, explore such terrain as a way of thinking about what poetry itself can do.

When Shakespeare imagines his own poems as “the living record of your memory,” he speaks of each reader’s ability to bring life to his verse, as well as his verse’s ability to memorialise the beloved.

There is a knowing bravado there too and these new poems respond to the cynical competitiveness of the sonnet as well as its capacity for more reverent celebration. A concern with inheritance — the transmission of ideas, values and even words from one generation to another — often guides the writers assembled in the book, who look to the past and its literary riches as well as to the future and their own legacies.

This past is at once a source of inspiration and a shadow any writer must step out of. Shakespeare felt this acutely and now he himself casts perhaps the longest shadow of all.

The desire to emulate and surpass the writers of the past drove Shakespeare to new literary heights, while rivalry with his contemporaries prompted some of the most astonishing theatrical and poetic experiments ever known.

This potent combination of past tradition and individual innovation makes Shakespeare’s voice unique. His metaphors, in particular, deserve comment for their power, aptness and sheer unexpected beauty.

Shakespeare remakes the language afresh, and our poets in turn rework the imaginative landscape of poetry.

Sleep is figured as the sea, ebbing and flowing to its own rhythms. A fragile flower or plant comes to hold the weight of the universe. A storm summons up all the forces of nature and human invention. The sonnet form requires that each poem is often built around one such image — or conceit — exploring a metaphor by turning it inside out.

The “volta,” or turn, that comes in the latter lines of each sonnet gives this particular force, allowing a poet to radically rethink his or her own ideas within the security of a tightly constrained form.

Our contributors have seized this imperative and often borrow the logic of the Shakespearean sonnet, even where they do not choose to write in this form themselves.

The skeleton of such poems, which are usually structured in two units of eight and then six lines, but which retain a sense of quatrains and a couplet, prompts numerological play and allows a writer to create a counterpoint between the movement of a poem and the differing rhythms of the ideas it contains.

Again, Shakespeare does this to a superlative degree and our poets have internalised this aspect of his writing, giving it new life in their own verse.

The sonnet is at once the most compressed of literary forms and also one of the most expansive. Like Shakespeare, it contains multitudes.

We believe the poems in this collection do the same.

On Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Poets’ Celebration, edited by Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, is published by Bloomsbury in association with the Royal Society of Literature and King’s College London, price £12.99.

Sonnet 116

William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Magnetism

Gillian Clarke

Pull between earth and moon, or chemistry,
carries the swallow home from Africa
to perch again on his remembered tree,
the weeping birch by the pond. A star
will guide his mate home in a week, perhaps,
to the old nest in the barn, remade, mould
of spittle and pond-sludge in its cusp
as the new year in the mud-cup of the old.
Loss broke the swan on the river when winter
stole his mate when he wasn’t looking. Believing,
he waited, rebuilt the nest, all summer
holding their stretch of river, raging, grieving.
So would I wait for you, were we put apart.
Mind, magnetism, hunger of the heart.

Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales 2008-2016, was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2010 and the Wilfred Owen Award 2012. Her recent books include Ice, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award 2012 and The Christmas Wren, 2014. She is currently working on a new collection Zoology and her New Selected Poems is to be published by Picador next month.

German government persecutes comedian for satire on dictator Erdogan


This video says about itself:

German comedian Jan Böhmermann makes fun of Erdogan

12 April 2016

After the German comedian Jan Böhmermann made fun of the Turkish President Erdogan in a poem calling him a “murderer, goat rapist, child molester and killer of the Kurds“, the Turkish government demands from the German government to put him in jail or deport him to Turkey in which he could face up to 20 years in jail for insulting Erdogan; “His head is as empty as his balls”.

By Peter Schwartz in Germany:

German Chancellor Merkel gives green light for prosecution of satirist Jan Böhmermann

16 April 2016

The German government has given the green light to criminal proceedings against the satirist Jan Böhmermann for supposedly “insulting” the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the move in a statement at the chancellery on Friday.

Merkel has given in to pressure from the Turkish government, which has been demanding Böhmermann’s prosecution. Ankara acts mercilessly against oppositionists and journalists inside Turkey; there are currently more than 1,800 such legal proceedings for “insulting” Erdogan, and over a dozen journalists are in prison.

Paragraph 103 of the German Penal Code, under which Böhmermann is being prosecuted, is a relic of authoritarianism. It makes the “insulting of the institutions and officials of foreign states” a punishable offence. The penalty ranges from a fine up to three years imprisonment, and five years in the case of supposed “defamation.”

In the Kaiser’s Empire, Paragraph 103 protected crowned heads. In 1948, the news magazine Der Spiegel was banned for two weeks for revealing that Prince Bernhard, the spouse of the Dutch Queen Juliana, had been an honorary SS officer. In the 1960s, the Persian royal family used it to suppress criticism of its regime of torture. And in 1975, it was used to prosecute demonstrators who correctly characterised Pinochet’s military dictatorship in Chile as a “band of murderers.”

Unlike other sections of the penal code, paragraph 103 requires the direct authorization of the Federal government. In order not to jeopardise the dirty deal with Turkey to stem the influx of refugees to Europe, and to suppress opposition to the persecution of refugees, Berlin has imported Erdogan’s authoritarian methods into Germany.

Merkel is trying to disguise this reality by promising to abolish paragraph 103 by 2018, and declaring that the government’s decision to apply it in the Böhmermann case does not amount to a rush to judgement. She has justified its application, saying it was “not a matter for the government but for the state attorneys and courts to weigh up the personal rights of those affected and other concerns about the freedoms of the press and artistic expression.”

But that is a sham. In reality, Merkel condemned Böhmermann shortly after his controversial broadcast, when she telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and assured him that she considered it to be “consciously damaging.”

Erdogan himself had not reckoned with the German government agreeing to the use of paragraph 103, and as a precaution had instigated a private libel suit under paragraph 185, which foresees far milder penalties.

The vast majority of the German population oppose the prosecution of Böhmermann. In a poll conducted by Emnid, more than two thirds said they thought Merkel was making too many concessions to Erdogan in this case. Many prominent artists have expressed their solidarity with Böhmermann.

An open letter published in news weekly Die Zeit, signed by many renowned actors, states: “Discussions about and criticism of Jan Böhmermann’s Erdogan poem belong in the country’s literary supplements and not in a Mainz court room… Art cannot take place in a climate in which artists have to have second thoughts about whether their creations may lead to legal proceedings, and begin to censor themselves, or be censored.”

Even the German government is divided. There were “differing views between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats,” Merkel said. While the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) agree with the application of paragraph 103, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) rejects it. “I think the decision is wrong,” SPD parliamentary group leader Thomas Oppermann commented on Twitter. “Penalising satire for ‘Lèse majesté’ does not sit well in a modern democracy.”

The broadcaster ZDF, which transmitted the controversial episode of Böhmermann’s satire programme “Neo Magazin Royale” on March 31 on its ZDFneo channel, has taken down the episode from its website, saying it did not meet ZDF’s quality standards, but would defend Böhmermann legally.

“The form and content of the satirical contribution were not meant to impugn the honour of the Turkish president, but were part of a critical debate,” according to the legal submission made by ZDF to the State Attorney in Mainz. The “constitutional guarantee of freedom of satire” embraces, “especially in connection with matters of public interest, the use of coarse stylistic devices.” It is part of the essence of satire that “well aimed excesses, which are meant to elicit emotions and reactions in the public, draw attention to a topic and express criticism.”

Standing in front of a Turkish flag, Böhmermann recited a poem against Erdogan that viciously insulted the Turkish president. He employed obscene insults and vulgar racist swear words. He called the poem “abusive criticism,” and stressed several times that he was seeking to make clear what was not permitted in Germany, what traverses the boundaries of the freedom of satire and was punishable.

He was reacting to the attempts of the Turkish government to censor a song, broadcast on March 17 by ARD and entitled “extra 3,” that mocked Erdogan. This satirical song had not personally vilified Erdogan, but criticised—completely legitimately—the limiting of press freedom, the persecution of critical journalists, the suppression of the Kurds and other human rights violations in Turkey.

Nevertheless, the Turkish government summoned the German ambassador and demanded that the satirical song be deleted. The ambassador declined to do so, with reference to the freedom of expression, but the German government did not make the incident public, and did not take a position.

When the parliamentary deputy Sevim Dagdelen (Left Party), who had spoken to the ambassador, reported this, the government came under fierce criticism. It was accused of sacrificing freedom of expression in the interests of the EU deal with Turkey.

Böhmermann’s “abusive criticism” must be seen in this political context. By illustrating what, in contrast to “extra 3,” is not permitted, he provoked a debate. It is not “abusive criticism, but playing with it,” as Der Spiegel put it, and is therefore protected as freedom of expression.

The approval of criminal proceedings against Böhmermann reveals the true character of the German government. Last year, Merkel was celebrated as the refugees’ chancellor, whose “welcoming culture” stood in contrast to those who sought to close off the borders.

At the time, we explained that Merkel was not concerned for the fate of the refugees but for the preservation of the European Union, which Germany needed “in order to again play the role of a world power.”

But after concluding the deal with Erdogan, refugees fleeing war who made the life-threatening sea crossing over the Aegean are being locked up, mistreated and brought back to Turkey, where the Turkish government detains them and deports them.

In response to the growing criticism of the EU’s refugee policy, the German government has acted with the same methods as Erdogan: suppressing and persecuting dissenting voices.

German government persecutes comedian on behalf of Turkish dictator


This video from the USA says about itself:

Germany Might Arrest Satirist For Offending Idiot Turkish President

14 April 2016

AMERICANS WONDERING WHAT life might be like in the near future — after a President Donald Trump acts on his promise to “open up our libels laws,” so that politicians with easily bruised egos can sue reporters or commentators for hurting their feelings — should pay attention to what is happening this week in Germany.

A German TV video which used to be on the Internet used to say about itself:

2 April 2016

Jan Böhmermann: “Schmähkritik” – A poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The German text of the poem is here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Justice department is persecuting German comedian for insulting Erdogan

Today, 18:02

Judith van de Hulsbeek

The German judiciary is investigating a video of comedian and presenter Jan Böhmermann. In the movie Böhmermann reads a libelous poem in which he seeks out the boundaries of what he is allowed and is not allowed to say about the Turkish President Erdogan.

He says among other things that Erdogan beats girls and that the president has a small penis.

The presidential election debates in the Republican party of the USA are hardly about other subjects than insinuations about the sizes of the candidates’ penises. Yet, the United States Justice Department is not prosecuting Donald Trump, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz, as far as I know.

The Public Prosecution Service is now investigating whether [Jan Böhmermann] is guilty of “insulting representatives of foreign states”. This may be punished with three years in prison.

Böhmermann made the video for the satirical program ZDF NEO Magazine Royal. The film was immediately already controversial. A day after the broadcast ZDF decided to remove it from the website because it would supposedly exceed “the limits of satire and irony.” …

Tension

Böhmermann made the video in response to the fuss over another satirical contribution of the Extra3 program. Erdogan tried to ban the distribution of this video, which caused worldwide criticism of him.

To prevent further diplomatic tension, Chancellor Merkel called on Sunday Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu. The two agreed that the film of Böhmermann is intentionally insulting.

Now a judicial investigation has been initiated.

Angela Merkel and Erdogan, EPA photo

Angela Merkel’s fawning over Erdogan will put the Turkish president, not Jan Böhmermann, in the dock. A German law which prevents citizens insulting a foreign head of state could come into conflict with European human rights legislation, which values freedom of political expression: here.

Argentinian poem on Falklands/Malvinas war


This music video by British anarchist punk rock band Crass says about itself:

Crass – Sheep Farming In The Falklands

28 jun. 2007

Some images and footage from the Falklands War… just as stupid and needless as the current Iraq war… Politicians take note… 1 2 3 4 We Don’t Want Your Fuckin’ War.

The lyrics of this song are here.

Poem by Argentinian Leo Boix, living in England:

Archipelago

Saturday 2nd April 2016

I was seven

when the teacher

unfurled the map

for us all to see:

“The Malvinas are Argentine.”

And I so little,

imagined those islets,

as savage beasts

as swimming dogs

facing that immensity,

of all the oceanic

blue.

So small

the lost islands,

a war

we watched as a family

on a 22 inch

Hitachi

television,

in full colour

illuminating the dining room

and the armchairs made of cane.

Little lead soldiers

in a frozen landscape,

bombs fell,

ships sunk,

we played

a battle

inanimate

of the opposing sides,

under the shadow of the flowerless

rubber trees.

“The Malvinas are Argentine,”and nearby

the neighbours

put together

a rag doll

of the Iron Lady,

filled with paper and dry straw,

with old high-heel shoes

and buttons sawn to the head.

She had a stitched

bag, and was tied to a stick

to keep her

so imposing.

But still

the fire

ended up consuming

rapidly

the effigy

Thatcher.

And we the children danced

in a circle singing

while the soldiers fell

on the road to Port Stanley,

flashes in the sky,

wounded,

the battle

Goose Green,

the general announcing: “We are winning.”

But the dead kept coming

upon us

as if unearthing shame.

And when the deceit

ended,

the screen announced

Argies go home.”

Nobody won,

we all lost,

and they did not come back from the South Atlantic.

It’s hard to believe,

I was seven

and still remember

that freezing April,

the box of chocolates

that we sent

to the islands,

so that the cold

wouldn’t end up

freezing

the apathy

of bewilderment.