Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Muse: Poems of Solidarity for Haiti

I learned recently that a 126-page poetry collection, Poems of Solidarity for Haiti, is available in pdf to download here.* 

The idea for the anthology was conceived by poet, performance artist, and playwright Alice Lovelace, the Atlanta-based collective Armed With Art, which uses art for social change, and In Motion Magazine

Following the January 12, 2010, earthquake that devastated Haiti, a call was issued to "write poems of solidarity from your heart to the people of Haiti to help them in their healing." (See Call for 100 Poems of Solidarity for Haiti.) Four judges  — Theresa Davis, a poet, educator, and Armed With Art member; Collin Kelley, a poet, novelist, and playwright; Alice Lovelace; and Nic Paget-Clarke, co-editor and publisher of In Motion — participated in several rounds of readings and voting to select the best poems from those submitted. (See announcement Winning Poems Chosen.) They chose for first-place "Sharecropper's Pantoum" by spoken word artist M. Ayodele Heath and for second place, "Ayiti", by April "AP" Smith. They also selected four poems to receive honorable mentions, and 54 other poems to include in the anthology.

A donation for Haiti relief was made in M. Ayodele Heath's name, and the poet was interviewed by Collin Kelley. The first- and second-place poems and honorable mentions, as well as the interview, were published in the Art Changes section of the May 19, 2010, issue of In Motion Magazine.

Here is the first stanza of Heath's "A Sharecropper's Pantoum":

Hauling this pine box on a black Chevrolet,
I pray to a candle at the end of its wick.
White burial clothes in a garbage bag,
I ride for a place to die. [. . .]

An article written by Bill Quigley, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Port-au-Prince lawyer Jeena Shah, who is part of the Lawyers' Earthquake Response Network, is included as the Introduction to the collection. (See "Million Plus Remain Homeless and Displaced in Haiti: One Year After Quake".)

* Thank you, Collin Kelley.

Direct Link to pdf:

Poems, news, and a calendar of readings and performances by Heath can also be found here.

Collin Kelley's Interview with M. Ayodele Heath, In Motion Magazine, May 25, 2010

"Art Changes From Where I Stand", In Motion Magazine Column Co-Edited by Alice Lovelace



Louise Gallagher said...

Your post this morning fascinated me and I sent me offon a search (I didn't have time for -- but didn't care because I became so engrossed in wonder :) ) . The search you sent me on, from clicking on one of the links, was the phrase, "art changes everything".

It lead me to several art/design related blogs -- and now, I've got more wonder to fill my world.


And that's the wonder of your place. You always inspire me to explore the world.

L.L. Barkat said...

More and more these days, poetry is my first prayer, especially in times as these.