FROM THE DESK OF MBIZO CHIRASHA: Opportunity Knocks for Women Poets

CALL for SUBMISSIONS as well as introducing our iconic Guest Editor for the June Edition Jamie Dedes:

Mbizo Chirasha

This edition gives women poets a platform to reflect as they share their experiences of the COVID 19 menace and  as well visualizing their lives and that of their communities after the COVID19 threats, loss and pain.  Sobriety and healing can be brought back by written word, writing, poetic reflections and reading experiences. We continue to value creativity and diversity. We say every positive change begins with writing. Every revolution  began and ended by WORD. We look forward to reading your  writings and reflections. Thumbs-up to Womawords 2020 Poet Laureate and June Edition Guest Editor JAMIE DEDES. Together We Rise.

The WOMAWORDS press June Edition is to be edited by our Poet Laureate and USA Associate to the WOMAWORDS Hall of Fame, Jamie Dedes.“The call is open to women poets from May 20 through June 20.“Ten poems and poets will be selected from the submissions, which should include a short third-person bio of thirty-to-sixty words and your photograph.“Submissions to be forwarded to BOTH Mbizo Chirasha womawordpress@gmail.com and cc’d Jamie Dedes at thepoetbyday@gmail.com.

JAMIE DEDES is a Lebanese-American poet and free-lance writer. She is the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and is currently a co-manager editor with Michael Dickel. Ms. Dedes is the Poet Laureate of WOMAWORDS Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press as well. Her debut collection, The Damask Garden is due out fall 2020 from Blue Dolphin Press.

– Mbizo Chirasha

 

INSIDE  JAMIE  DEDES’

POETRY  LAB

MY EARS ARE DEAF, MY EYES HEAR A SONG

mountains rise round, Mother’s ever pregnant belly
and the aspens dance with paper-barked madrone
screeching their yellows and reds, brindle and feral
like the snaked hairs of Medusa, they are warning

looming over me as I lay miles away on a mesa
the bones of my ancestors, the heart of my child
the pelts of the brown minks my father sewed
the vultures circle, mesmerized by my demise

I feed on the pinion and ride mountain lions
down slopes, into valleys, a wanderer, lost and lost
looking eastward, seeking John Chapman
he has something to say, or maybe it’s westward

John Muir, my ears are deaf, my eyes hear a song
emerging from brown bear, a surfeit of salmon
burning sage, clearing America, the wild beasts
are defanged and declawed and I am hawk-eyed.

A CENTURY OF POSSIBLE PEACE

            after Muriel Rukeyser
.
I lived in the century of world wars and
into the century of “hot spots” and “conflicts,”
those isolated regions of hostility and battle, of
choreographed shows of military cliché and the
violent disaffected eruptions of the marginalized

Every day is an homage to some insanity
Media reports are conveyed with facile intensity
by hyperkinetic journalists delivering easy
and ominous conclusions based on seemingly
recondite facts, quickly moving to celebrity
gossip and other insipid topics . . .

I have lived in two centuries of wars
I know what it is to be exhausted by the
vain posturing of the ruling class and
the tired protestations of tribal unity and
supremacy based on accidents of birth

I know what it is to imagine peace across
the circumference of one small blue ball
in a Universe of inestimable size and breadth
I know that darkness can descend with the
speed of light and that love is more than an
anchor and that vision keeps our dreams alive

I have lived into the century where the world is
grown small, where the peacemakers are tireless
and perhaps enough hearts have grown large …
sometimes I think I am living in the century
where peace is as possible as war

THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION

the ghosts of our parents search vainly
for wildflowers near the beach at Big Sur

they were deaf to the threat in thunder,
but we were struck by lightning,
heaved in the rain and waves and
the overflow from the melting ice

the computers went down
their screens black as the wicked water,
in whirling chaos they morphed into drums

every fetus turned in the womb,
the men went to the mountain tops
and the women sheltered in caves

the souls of saints and sinners
were run through a cosmic wash cycle
after the spin dry, a new wisdom

but the shades of our parents remain,
they wait in vain for us at Big Sur,
in vain by the Santa Lucia Mountains

jamie100000

About Womawords Literary Press

Womawords, an international eZine based in Africa, is the heart child of multi-award winning Zimbabwean poet in exile, Mbizo Chirasha.  It was established to support women and girls through the publication of activist poetry by women.  Current projects are Womawords companion publication, Liberating Voices Journal, and the newly founded Womawords Hall of Fame.

The Womawords Hall of Fame seeks to amplify women’s voices through literary and other arts and comprises representatives from around the globe: writers, poets, editors, and mentors among others.


JAMIE DEDES is a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. She curates the Poet by Day Webzine [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. Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments. Jamie is also the founder and founding editor of The BeZine, which she currently manages and edits with American-Israeli poet, Michael Dickel (Meta /Phor(e) /Play).

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet)  \is the founder of Womawords Literary Press, which is dedicated to giving space to the voices of women and girls. He is a multi-award winning poet from Zimbabwe who is in exile and running for his life. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor for him. In part I am posting this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany. Open to suggestion.  Connect with me (thepoetbyday@gmail.com) if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Call for Submissions by Women Poets to Womawords Literary Press, June 2020 Edition

Photograph courtesy João Silas, Unsplash

Today Mbizo Chirasha, founder and curator of Wombwords Literary Press, announced a Call for Submissions to the June 2020 edition themed Imagining Life After COVID-19.



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

IMAGINING LIFE AFTER COVID-19

“The June edition is to be edited by our Poet Laureate and USA Associate to the Womawords Hall of Fame, Jamie Dedes.

“The call is open to women poets from May 20 through June 20.

“Ten poems and poets will be selected from the submissions, which should include a short third-person bio of thirty-to-sixty words and your photograph.

“Submissions to be forwarded to BOTH Mbizo Chirasha womawordpress@gmail.com and cc’d Jamie Dedes at thepoetbyday@gmail.com”

About Womawords Literary Press

Womawords, an international eZine based in Africa, is the heart child of multi-award winning Zimbabwean poet in exile, Mbizo Chirasha.  It was established to support women and girls through the publication of activist poetry by women.  Current projects are Womawords companion publication, Liberating Voices Journal, and the newly founded Womawords Hall of Fame.

The Womawords Hall of Fame seeks to amplify women’s voices through literary and other arts and comprises representatives from around the globe: writers, poets, editors, and mentors among others.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

Poetry Foundation to celebrate National Poetry Month (April) across digital platforms only as it cancels offline events

March 2020 issue

 The oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world.



The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry, announced that the safety of staff and community remains it’s top priority and that during these unprecedented times, they continue to monitor and heed the guidance of local and national officials. Based on the most recent guidelines from the Center for Disease Control  they’ve decided to cancel all programming and remain closed to the public through May 15, regretful because April is National Poetry Month, a time for celebrating the community of poets, artists and performers.

Poetry Foundation will continue April’s celebrations across digital platforms and suggests that whether you’re a newcomer to reading poems and looking for a place to start, or a lifelong writer seeking fresh engagement with poetry, the Foundation will have something for you.

Stay connected with The Poetry Foundation through their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Poetry Foundation has a fabulous archive of poetry and poet biographies accessible worldwide. It also offers audio recordings and podcasts, articles about children’s poetry,  and Harriet’s Blog, a literary blog about poetry and related news. There’s also a glossary of poetic terms.

RELATED:

  • THE PARIS REVIEW on YouTube offers a wealth of videos of interest to writers and readers.
  • The BeZine will celebrate April as International Poetry Month, themed pandemic but we are suggesting a wide-range of subject material under that heading. I will publish more details sometime tomorrow. Submissions to thezinesubmissions@gmail.com (Please note this is our new email address.) / J.D.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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

PEN America International Festival Convenes Writers of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism; Featured poets include Danez Smith and Jamila Woods

Poet Danez Smith reading at Split This Rock 2018, Washington, D.C. courtesy of Slowking4 under GFDL 1.2

On Wednesday, May 4, Danez Smith perform for this Festival from their latest poetry collection, Homie, sharing their perspectives on seeking joy, intimacy, acceptance and safety from discriminatory violence in America. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective, an assemblage of poets and performers of color with a mission to amplify spoken word artists who explore race, religion, gender, queerness, hip-hop culture, and radical truth-telling in their art. After the performance they will talk about the potential of their art to celebrate race, the body, and identity politics.

Among the other Festival poets are: Mahogany L. Browne, Roya Marsh, Porsha Olayiwola, Jamilia Woods, Abdulla Pashew, Oksana Zabuzhko, Ben Okri, and Tatiana Voltskaya.



PEN America shares the highlights of its 16th Edition of the United States’ Leading International Literary Festival, bookended by an opening night event featuring Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, and Jia Tolentino in Conversation with Rebecca Traister and a closing performance by Jon Batiste, Suleika Jaouad, Zadie Smith and Tara Westover

Acclaimed authors, writers and poets Including Andrés Barba, Ishmael Beah, Mahogany L. Browne, Lydia Davis, Amitav Ghosh, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Hunter Harris,  Jeremy O. Harris, Yuri Herrera, Jill Lepore, Sara Mesa, Lynn Nottage, Ben Okri, Elif Shafak, Jenny Slate, Danez Smith, Brandon Taylor, David Treuer, Jeanette Winterson, Jamila Woods, and other participants in venues around New York.

PEN America presents the 2020 PEN World Voices Festival: These Truths, celebrating literature’s deep illumination of cultural, historical, political, and emotional truths in a complex moment when “truth” is destabilized by the constant undermining of a common set of facts, “objective” histories are being interrogated and upended, and radical candor about lived experiences is fueling powerful social movements. This festival brings together fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, translators, thinkers, and activists for an array of conversations, interviews, readings, and musical performances on this infinitely prismatic subject.

Chip Rolley, Director of the PEN World Voices Festival and Senior Director of Literary Programs at PEN America, describes arriving at this year’s theme: “The crisis in truth in the American political sphere and a hallowed phrase from the U.S. Declaration of Independence were the jumping-off points for a festival that ultimately celebrates truth-telling on a wide range of topics and in myriad forms. We urgently need to hear the deeper truths afforded by literary fiction and by poetry, for literature to engage with contested histories and memory, and for journalists, historians and other non-fiction writers to present the world as it really is, to contest the fabrications served to us on an almost daily basis.”

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel says, “At a moment when we can rely on government officials neither to tell nor to face the truth, citizens must step into the breach. Truth-tellers such as investigative journalists, the courageous women behind the #MeToo movement, and the risk-everything whistleblowers attesting to government wrongdoing are driving the discourse while facing unrelenting attacks. Against this norm-defying backdrop, PEN America is proud to convene some of the world’s most transformative writers and thinkers in a show of force on behalf of complexity, facts, and veracity.”



Jamila Wood’s Album Cover for Legacy! Legacy!

On May 4th, soul-singer, song-writer, poet and recording artist behind LEGACY! LEGACY!, an album that draws inspiration from James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, and other great authors, Jamila Woodswill will present at this Festival. Jamila’s work focuses on themes of Black ancestry, Black feminism, and Black identity, with recurring emphases on self-love and the City of Chicago. After her performance at the Festival, she will talk about the potential of art to celebrate race, the body, and identity politics, offering a message of self-love and healing justice.



The 2020 PEN World Voices Festival opens May 4 with three compelling truth-tellers—Margaret Atwood, Roxane Gay, and Jia Tolentino—speaking with Rebecca Traister at The Town Hall about how women’s lives have been shaped by historical forces, religious and political dogma, today’s resurgent misogyny, and societal and personal gaslighting, that most cunning undermining of lived reality.

On May 6 at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project*, delivers the festival’s annual keynote address, the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, given in recent years by Arundhati Roy (2019) and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (2018). Hannah-Jones discusses her journalistic mission to reframe how we understand our nation, the legacy of slavery, and the unparalleled role Black people have played in U.S. democracy.



Public Domain

*The 1619 Project is an ongoing project developed by The New York Times Magazine in 2019 with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States and timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia. It is an interactive project by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for The New York Times, with contributions by the paper’s writers, including essays on the history of different aspects of contemporary American life which the authors believe have “roots in slavery and its aftermath.” It also includes poems, short fiction, and a photo essay.[2] Originally conceived of as a special issue for August 20, 2019, it was soon turned into a full-fledged project, including a special broadsheet section in the newspaper, live events, and a multi-episode podcast series.

The New York Times has said that the contributions were deeply researched, and arguments verified by a team of fact-checkers in consultation with historians. Civil War historians Gordon S. Wood, James M. McPherson and Richard Carwardine are among many who have criticized the 1619 Project, stating that the project has put forward misleading and historically inaccurate claims.



Like Hannah-Jones, bestselling author David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee) offers a powerful counter-narrative to a monolithic history—in this case, rebutting conventional wisdom about Native American experience (May 5 at Brooklyn Historical Society). In an event entitled The Last Archive, on May 7 at Symphony Space, celebrated historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore (These Truths: A History of the United States) interrogates a question at the heart of this year’s festival: How do we find the truth in the age of Google and “alternative” facts? Amitav Ghosh, Terry Tempest Williams, Maja Lunde, and Emily Raboteaucome together May 9 at the AIA Center for Architecture to consider the role of the writer in a society that denies science and the everyday realities of extreme weather amidst impending apocalypse.

Other events underscore the truth-telling potential of the creative act. On May 6 at the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri discusses his latest book, The Freedom Artist, which imagines a society where the disappearance of books and diminishment of literacy have led to the creation of a dystopia devoid of truth. On the heels of her Netflix comedy special Stage Fright, Jenny Slate will speak with Vulture writer Hunter Harris about her unclassifiable, keenly personal book Little Weirds (May 6 at the New School). On May 7 at Center for Fiction, Turkish-British writer-activist Elif Shafak and literary critic and Literary Hub Executive Editor John Freeman explore how words themselves have been used to misrepresent and distort reality, and how they can be reclaimed. Also on May 7, at Symphony Space, playwrights Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play, Daddy, and Black Exhibition) and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined, and Intimate Apparel) discuss their impulse to expose uncomfortable, often hidden truths about race, class, and sexuality in American society.

PEN America President Jennifer Egan says, “A festival of writers, artists, and intellectuals affords a tonic opportunity to explore pressing topics from creative and unexpected angles. The offerings in “These Truths” include an evening melding dystopian fiction and West African music; a Russian queer poetry reading; and a cross-generational discussion between prominent Mexican novelists about how art can reclaim and subvert cultural stereotypes—to name just a smattering of auspicious events.”

You can visit the PEN AMERICA WORLD VOICES FESTIVAL WEBSITE for complete details and to purchase tickets. 

This post is courtesy of Wikipedia, PEN America, Amazon, and The 1612 Project, 

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


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



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