Blast from the Past: 22 September 2007

If you haven’t yet visited Gary’s blog, it time you did and this is why … Good stuff there …

One with Clay, Image and Text

It’s been a long time since I posted, and I have many things that I’m working on, but nothing current suitable to publish. But going over REALLY OLD files, back in 2007 when I was doing Journal Pages faithfully every day, with not much regard for calligraphy but some for inked color, and I ran across this fable about a meet-cute with a short guitar-playing guy and a really tall girl…

2007 0922

I remember that I was using the finest-point pen I could find–might have been a Rollerball or a Razor–and a set of Faber-Castell ink markers for the color. I also had a thing about presenting the date a different way every day, sort of like Will Eisner did with his SPIRIT logos.

And I remember yearning.

Operations

Of music, sacred smiles, and nagging doubt:
Pitch-perfect was the Evening. And the Girl:
Enchanting, very tall, she was…

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Literature Locked Up: First Amendment and the fight for access to books and magazines in our prisons

Photo courtesy of Johannes Jansson/norden.org under CC BY 2.5 dk

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”  James Baldwin



Last month a federal court ruled that the Arizona Department of Corrections was overly broad in restricting certain publications to people in state prisons, and ordered the department to establish clearer rules that are consistent with the First Amendment. The decision stems from a 2015 lawsuit brought by the magazine Prison Legal News, which alleged that state corrections officials were unfairly withholding the magazine from incarcerated subscribers.

“The ruling out of Arizona is a significant step forward for the First Amendment and for our fight for access to literature in sites of incarceration,” said Nora Benavidez, director of U.S. Free Expression Programs. “The court was right to recognize that Arizona’s policies towards book access give too much discretion to individual employees, who are then empowered to implement these policies in arbitrary or overly restrictive ways, and to demand narrow definitions for what content is prohibited.”

“PEN America has previously called for more explicit policies that more narrowly define the bounds for rejecting books, and we hope that Arizona’s revised policies will meet this mark,” Benavidez continued. “We need regulations that better enshrine the First Amendment within prison walls, and that recognize the importance of access to literature for our incarcerated population. We believe that this ruling can serve as an example for other jurisdictions to recognize the fundamental right to read where it remains threatened in American prisons.”

In September 2019, PEN America released Literature Locked Up: How Prison Book Restriction Policies Constitute the Nation’s Largest Book Ban. a research report on the state of the right to read in American prisons. The report concluded that “book restrictions in American prisons are often arbitrary, overbroad, opaque, subject to little meaningful review, and overly dismissive of incarcerated people’s right to access literature behind bars.”

Among the recommendations, PEN America concluded that state and federal officials should develop more explicit policies governing book restrictions; implement periodic review of their restriction policies; and ensure that prison officials strongly consider the literary, educational, and rehabilitative merit of any publication before determining its admissibility.

This post is courtesy of PEN America.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

The Road to Zvegona, a poem by Poet-in-Exhile Mbizo Chirasha; Update on Mbizo’s situation; Calls for Submissions to Brave Voices Poetry Journal

See a procession of young mothers chattering their way
From water fountains in grenade torn sandals
And blood laced bras
Decade of Bullets, Mbizo Chirasha



Is fading the memory of its son,
Who for words must ride the night
Fleeing ears that hear thunder on a babies purity guggle,
Zvegona, my homestead,
Ancestors are watching
Elders on a scheming mission
Trading lies with more lies
The road to Zvegona
Your Sideroads sigh
Your song is silent
Only hiccups of mothers greet the sun
Yearning for the return of the bearded child
Who lives on the strings of truth
Truth refused a seat at the council of baboons on the lagoons
Goons settling scores on the assumptions that a boy has a price,
Well, the boy true has a price
But not one you can pay with looted coins
The boy has shaved his hair not his brains
The boy has slipped his boots on and truth has raised its flag
And the spirits of truth sing his Achilles heels on,
So Zvegona, the village of the lucky poet,
Grow thistles and thorns
Feed cattle and goats
The boy has shaved his beard
Ready for a walk back, to shave the land of all pretentious shenanigans
Uprooting the weeds and weevils
Repair the kraal too,
Where roosters shall announce light unto the land,
Currently bent double under the gargantuan weight of lying tongues.
Zvegona, you are my yesterday
Zvegona, you are my tomorrow in whatever form, shape or …….

© 2019, Mbizo Chirasha

UPDATE ON MBIZO

Mbizo is still in hiding with irregular access to water, food, computer and Wifi. Nonetheless, he continues working at his mission including  NOTICE FREEDOM VOICES PRIZE  and BRAVE VOICES POETRY JOURNAL and Womawords Literary Press.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The first New Look Brave Voices Poetry Journal will be out by the 15th of December 2019. It is a Christmas gift. Our deadline for articles [and poetry] is the 10th of December 2019. We look  forward to contributions and features with a length of 1500 words. You can send these in the body of mail with photos as attachments. Please include your publishable photos and a fifteen line bio to bravevoicespoetry@gmail.com

Yours creatively ,
Mbizo Chirasha- Brave Voices Poetry Journal Curator

We’ve received letters of support to go in Mbizo’s applications for grants and safe harbor, but the Go-Fund-Me effort is still not to goal, which would provide for the immediate need for pantry staples, computer, and so forth. Without predictable computer access, Mbizo has not yet been able to do his interview with the Canadian radio show, though the offer still stands.

International Human Rights Festival, the entity that sponsored Mbizo’s Go-Fund-Me, has attracted $480 and raised the goal to $750.  They have cut him some partial funding for now.  Meanwhile, folks, I suggest that if enough of us donated the price of one morning latte, we’d make the goal.  What do you say? A whole bunch of tidbits would combine for a whole lot of success. You can make your donation anonymously HERE.

If you are able and interested in helping in any way, you can contact Mbizo directly at: girlchildcreativity@gmail.com

“We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA.” Mbizo Chirasha

RELATED
MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.

Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Facebook, like so much in life, a mixed blessing …

“But like the best empire builders, he was both very determined and very skeptical. It’s like [former Intel CEO] Andy Grove says, ‘only the paranoid survive.”  David Kirkpatrick, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World



I just posted this on my personal Facebook account:

I seem to be under attack. FB says posts are against community standards. Account also apparently hacked x 2. Peace? Sustainability? Social Justice? The video I responded to in the spirit of the video was allowed to go up but my comment is blocked. ??? So false political advertising that will impact the lives of many is okay with Facebook and so are abuses of confidentiality but sharing good news is not. So the wealthy get to practice freedom of speech but the poor do not. They even have prevented me from sharing some of my Calls for Submissions posts, which are only meant to help my fellow writers and poets get their own work out there, which as we all know can be a huge challenge. I don’t make income off of this. I’m just an old lady pounding a keyboard from my sick-bed, trying to do my best in the final stages of catastrophic lung diseases and a rare incurable blood cancer to remain productive and engaged and helpful. I am against no one, against no race, country, religion or lack there of. I’m not even against FB and its honchos, though policy is indeed sometimes questionable. Facebook does allow us to connect globally, which is a good thing. The Dalai Lama once said that people should have more festivals, the idea being that when we break bread together or share a bowl of rice, we see one another as human not other. In a way, Facebook is the equivalent of a friendly global festival . . . at least it is if that’s the way you use it – and all of YOU do. 🙂 That’s something for which I am grateful. Thank you, Facebook and Mark Z. I am for people, peace, sustainability, and social justice. I am only against the systems that ravage the lives of often helpless people/s. That would be the American ideal – however much we often fail at living up to it – and one would think Mark Z would share that ideal. How is that a threat? How am I a threat? Well dear friends, fellow poets, writers, artists, philosophers and spiritual writers, sharing my fave philosophy below. May this day treat you well. Amen. xo


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton