1. Poetry Makes us human
2. ‘Scratched on a Wall ’ Exclusive poem from Talha Ahsan’s forthcoming new poetry book
3. Who is Talha Ahsan?
4. More titles from the IHRC poetry collection
Poetry makes us human
In the words of the Brazilian poet and diplomat João Cabral de Melo Neto, “even unintentionally, every word that comes from emotion is poetry.”
Poetry is also the song of our deepest feelings and it has the unique ability to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. Shakespeare described poetry as the music that each man carries inside himself.
To this day, poetry brings the winds of freedom and dignity in the struggle against violence and oppression. Its diversity provides another form of dialogue. It reveals to us that all individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. It is an aspect of our freedom, it is what makes us human.
Scratched on a Wall by Talha Ahsan
You cannot cut your hand on edges that are blunt,
or rather a knife to your skull than a rock for the heart?
The dirt will choke out your lungs
if you cannot clean yourself with your tongue.
A person who believes the sun will never rise again,
and a person who believes it will,
do not live on the same island.
In prison, I have matured double my age,
like a piece of paper, folded and folded over again,
I am stronger, less easy to tear.
Words are written
not to remember but to forget
as memories for others
to pick up and skim across a deafening sea.
Who is Talha Ahsan?
Talha Ahsan is a British-born poet and translator with Asperger syndrome who was extradited to the US on 5th October 2012 after over 6 years of detention without charge or trial. He had never set foot on US soil prior to his extradition…
For further details please visit Free Talha
To share Talha’s poetry visit the Share Talha’s Poetry Facebook page
Watch the video of the last event about Talha held at the IHRC Bookshop and Gallery ‘Teaching Poetry to Prisoners with Pat Winslow and Mike Marqusee’
Highlights from the IHRC Poetry collection
This be the answer by Talha Ahsan £3.00
“This slim volume allows us brief access to a human being accused of inhumanity, to the details of his thinking, his loves, the life currently kept on hold by a Kafkaesque legal process….” A.L. Kennedy
My Voice sought in the Wind by Susan Abulhawa £12.00
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian-American author and social activist. My Voice Sought the Wind presents five years of Abulhawa’s best poems on the timeless themes of love, loss, identity, and family, brought to life through her vivid observations and intimate personal reflections.
Stray Birds by Rabindranath Tagore £3.50
Stray Birds consists of epigrams and short verses and are mostly translation of the epigrammatic verses of Kanika (Fragments) and Lekhan (Autographs in verse). The brevity, economy and intensity of these verses are striking and the combination of wit and wisdom has a magical lilt. If like me you like to dip in and out of poetry for occasional reflections then this is the ideal book.
These eight stories deal with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, war and its aftershocks prominent among them, where the reality is often much more surreal than fiction.
Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems by Ghassan Zaqtan
In this inspired translation of “Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me”, Ghassan Zaqtan’s tenth and most recent poetry collection, along with selected earlier poems, Fady Joudah brings to English-language readers the best work by one of the most important and original Palestinian poets of our time. With these poems Zaqtan enters new terrain, illuminating the vision of what Arabic poetry in general and Palestinian poetry in particular are capable of.
Stone Sleeper by Mak Dizdar
Inspired by tombstones and their inscriptions, Mak Dizdar’s rich and haunting poems in “Stone Sleeper”, his most famous work, are a journey into the mysterious heart of medieval Bosnia. The poems form a three-way dialogue between the modern poet, the Christian heretics awaiting Judgement Day beneath their enigmatically-carved tombstones, and the heretic-hunters. Beneath the local and temporal, Dizdar explores universal issues: the value of resistance, though it might be futile; of faith, though it might be illusory; and, of life, though it ends in death.
Inspired by tombstones and their inscriptions, Mak Dizdar’s rich and haunting poems in “Stone Sleeper”, his most famous work, are a journey into the mysterious heart of medieval Bosnia. The poems form a three-way dialogue between the modern poet, the Christian heretics awaiting Judgement Day beneath their enigmatically-carved tombstones, and the heretic-hunters. Beneath the local and temporal, Dizdar explores universal issues: the value of resistance, though it might be futile; of faith, though it might be illusory; and, of life, though it ends in death. Francis R Jones’ inventive and beautiful translations convey his deep understanding of Dizdar’s purpose.
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