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REPRESSION OF WRITERS, JOURNALISTS & ARTISTS

· Bejan Matur: Ceremoniële gewaden (Gedichten) · The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde · Gerald Janecek: Everything Has Already Been Written. Moscow Conceptualist Poetry and Performance · Du Bois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment by Juliana Spahr · Aslı Erdoğan: The Stone Building and Other Places · Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read – Sept. 23 – 29, 2018 · Chinese Authorities Razing Ai Weiwei’s Studio Part of Larger Attack on Artistic Expression · The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam · Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam · Journey to Armenia by Osip Mandelstam · Call on Iran to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe · Free Liu Xia, China, poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre

»» there is more...

Bejan Matur: Ceremoniële gewaden (Gedichten)

Bejan Matur behoort tot de bekendste en bij literatuurliefhebbers meest gewaardeerde dichters in Turkije.

Bij de politieke overheid van haar land ligt dat anders. Maar ze heeft intussen internationale faam opgebouwd en leeft in wisselende landen in Europa. In 2002 trad ze op tijdens Poetry International in Rotterdam.

Bejan Matur
Ceremoniële gewaden
Gedichten
Uitgever Kleinood & Grootzeer
Bundel
54 pagina’s
gelijmd
21 x 10,5 cm
ISBN/EAN 978-90-76644-89-9
€18,-
Eerste druk 100 genummerde door de auteur en de vertaler gesigneerde exemplaren
Vertaling en nawoord Willem M. Roggeman

 

Bejan Matur

Bejan Matur behoort tot de bekendste en bij literatuur-liefhebbers meest gewaardeerde dichters in Turkije. Bij de politieke overheid van haar land ligt dat anders. Maar zij heeft intussen ook een internationale faam opgebouwd. Haar poëzie werd in verscheidene talen vertaald en zelf wordt zij geregeld gevraagd als gast op internationale poëziefestivals. Zij publiceerde tot nog toe in Turkije tien werken, negen dichtbundels en een prozaboek dat als literaire journalistiek kan bestempeld worden.

Dit boek, Dagin Ardina Bakmak (Kijken achter de berg), handelt over de Koerdische kwestie en verscheen in februari 2011. Er heerste toen in Turkije een nog rustige periode waarin er een vredesproces aan de gang was. Bejan Matur besloot over de PKK-guerilleros te schrijven. Zij trok hiervoor naar het gebied waar de Koerdische vrijheidsstrijders zich schuilhielden en zij had meerdere gesprekken met hen. Deze gesprekken dienden als basis voor dit nog steeds actuele boek over een volk zonder land. Dit boek werd onmiddellijk een bestseller. Er werden meer dan 50.000 exemplaren van verkocht en nadien werden er nog verscheidene clandestiene uitgaven van gemaakt.

Maar sedert het vredesproces door de Turkse overheid werd opgeblazen kreeg Bejan Matur het bijzonder moeilijk, vooral omwille van deze reportage. Zij werd zelfs opgesloten in de gevangenis en werd er gefolterd om haar bronnen prijs te geven. In 2016 besloot zij dan ook het land te verlaten omdat zij zich bedreigd voelde bij al wat zij schreef. Niet alleen was er de mogelijkheid van een proces, maar er werden ook doodsbedreigingen geuit. Zij koos dan ook voor een vrijwillige ballingschap in Londen. Maar zij miste daar de mediterrane levenswijze. Daarom keerde zij in oktober 2017 toch terug naar Istanbul. Sedertdien verdeelt zij haar tijd tussen Istanbul, Londen, Athene en Verona.

Bejan Matur werd op 14 september 1968 geboren in een Koerdisch-Alevisch gezin in de oude Hitietenstad Kahramanmarash in het zuidoosten van Turkije, Koerdisch gebied. Zij studeerde aan het lyceum in de grotere stad Gaziantep en leefde toen samen met haar zusters ver van haar ouders. Haar vader wenste dat zij advocaat zou worden, of anders journalist.

Aan de universiteit van Ankara studeerde zij rechten, maar zij heeft nooit een advocatenpraktijk uitgeoefend. Zij werd diep getroffen door de onrechtvaardige behandeling van de Koerden en andere etnische minderheden in Turkije, wat steeds gebeurde onder het mom van de toepassing van de wet. Ook kwam zij tot de conclusie dat zij als advocaat alleen zou kunnen optreden als verdediger van de mensenrechten, maar dat zij hiervoor over weinig juridische mogelijkheden beschikte.

Al tientallen jaren heerst er een gewapend conflict tussen de Turkse staat en diverse Koerdische opstandige groeperingen. De Koerden verklaren dat zij vrijheidsstrijders zijn tegen de vreemde bezetters van hun land terwijl de Turkse staat hen bestempeld als terroristen en separatisten. Zelf was Bejan Matur tien jaar toen zij in 1978 getuige was van een pogrom op de Alevis in haar geboortestad. De vraag “Waarom doden zij ons?” heeft deze dichteres sedertdien nooit meer verlaten. Dit werd de beladen thematiek van de poëzie van Bejan Matur. In haar gedichten is vaak sprake van pijn, bloed en leed. Gelukkig laat ze zich nooit verleiden tot het schrijven van politiek geëngageerde gedichten, wat haar poëzie immers tijdgebonden en al gauw verouderd zou maken. Bovendien verafschuwt zij de slachtofferrol en streeft zij daarom eerder naar het scheppen van een ruimte om te dromen, een ruimte voor de artistieke creatie, voor hoop en liefde.

Hoewel zij nooit advocaat werd, brengt Bejan Matur als auteur, zowel in haar gedichten als in artikelen, toch een pleidooi voor de mensenrechten in het algemeen, maar ook voor de rechten van de vrouw en de bescherming van andere bedreigde groepen in de samenleving. Reeds tijdens haar studies publiceerde zij poëzie in diverse tijdschriften. Haar gedichten werden toen als “duister en mystiek” bestempeld. Zij schrijft haar gedichten in het Turks, maar de gevoelswaarde en het ritme van de Koerdische taal zijn erin te herkennen.

Vaak wordt god genoemd in deze gedichten, maar steeds volledig met kleine letters geschreven. Men moet de naam god dan ook niet zo zeer lezen in religieuze zin, maar eerder als een zinnebeeld voor het menselijk hart dat verlangt naar vrede, vrijheid en liefde voor de medemens. Dit wordt vooral duidelijk in het gedicht “Ceremoniële gewaden” waar zij schrijft: Misschien is geschiedenis een vergissing, zegt de dichter. De mens zelf is een vergissing, zegt god.

Haar eerste dichtbundel Rüzgar Dolu Konaklar (De wind huilt tussen de herenhuizen) verscheen in 1996 en stond volledig buiten de heersende trend in de Turkse poëzie. Deze sjamanistische poëzie met haar heidense beelden hoorde eerder bij het verleden dan bij het heden. Precies hierdoor trok hij sterk de aandacht. Voor deze bundel kreeg Bejan Matur zelfs verscheidene prijzen.

Haar tweede bundel, Tanri Görmesin Harflerini (God moet mijn handgeschreven brief niet zien) verscheen in 1999 en werd eveneens gunstig onthaald. In 2002 verschenen tegelijkertijd twee bundels, Ayin Büyüttügü Ogüllar (Zonen opgevoed door de maan) en Onün çölünde (In zijn woestijn).

De poëzie van Bejan Matur werd reeds in meer dan twintig talen vertaald, maar er verscheen nauwelijks iets in het Nederlands. Wel trad zij in juni 2002 op tijdens het internationaal poëziefestival Poetry International in Rotterdam. Naar aanleiding hiervan verschenen twee gedichten in Nederlandse vertaling door Ireneus Spit in de bloemlezing “Hotel Parnassus”, uitgegeven door De Arbeiderspers in Amsterdam.
In Engeland verscheen in 2003 de bundel In the Temple of a Patient God en bij de uitgeverij Phi in Luxemburg verscheen een Duitse en een Franse bundel.

Bejan Matur wordt geregeld gevraagd om op te treden in het buitenland. Zo leerde ik haar persoonlijk kennen op het internationaal poëziefestival dat in september 2008 in Tel Aviv werd gehouden.

Haar vijfde dichtbundel Ibrahim’in Beni Terketmesi (Abraham verlaat ons) verscheen in maart 2008 en werd door de critici ontvangen als haar voorlopig beste werk. De beeldvorming in dit werk werd ook weer als mystiek beschreven. De dichteres heeft inderdaad een persoonlijke ontologie gecreëerd, die steunt op de Soefi-traditie, die meer dan duizend jaar oud is. In 2009 verscheen Dogunun Kapisi: Diyarbakir (De Poort van het Oosten: Diyarbakir) en een jaar later publiceerde Bejan Matur Kader Denizi (Zee van Geloof), gedichten bij foto’s van Mehmet Günyeli. Deze foto’s waren eerder te zien op tentoonstellingen in prestigieuze galerieën in Istanbul en Ankara.

Vanaf 2005 schreef Bejan Matur geregeld artikelen in het Turkse dagblad Zaman, maar in 2012 werd zij ontslagen. Zij werkte af en toe mee aan het Engelstalige dagblad Today’s Zaman. Zij schreef hoofdzakelijk artikelen over de situatie van de Koerden, maar ook over het problematisch bestaan van de Armeniërs, over actuele politieke gebeurtenissen, minderheidsgroepen, gevangenis-literatuur en de onderdrukking van de vrouw.
Thans werkt zij aan geen enkele krant meer mee.

In haar laatste twee bundels, Son Dag (De laatste berg, 2015) en Ask Olmayan (Liefdesgedichten, 2016) vindt men de typische Koerdische levenssfeer terug in de talrijke natuurbeschrijvingen en in de weergave van de landschappen van Koerdistan, binnen en buiten de grenzen van Turkije. De bergen, de rivieren, de maan, de zon en de plantengroei komen steeds weer in deze verzen voor en bepalen mee het ritme van haar zeggings-wijze, die echter vooral door de wind wordt gedragen. Het valt dan ook onmiddellijk op dat de wind als symbool een primaire rol speelt in deze gedichten. Met haar talrijke allusies op elementen uit de eeuwenoude Koerdische cultuur neemt Bejan Matur een unieke en heel aparte plaats in de hedendaagse Turkse poëzie in.

Willem M. Roggeman
11 maart 2019

Uitgeverij Kleinood & Grootzeer
Kon. Wilhelminastraat 46
4615 JB Bergen op Zoom NL
T: 0164 24 00 49 (0031 164 24 00 49)
email: uitgeverij@kleinood-en-grootzeer.com
website: http://kleinood-en-grootzeer.com/index.html

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The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde

“And I? May I say nothing, my lord?” With these words, Oscar Wilde’s courtroom trials came to a close. The lord in question, High Court justice Sir Alfred Wills, sent Wilde to the cells, sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor for the crime of “gross indecency” with other men.

As cries of “shame” emanated from the gallery, the convicted aesthete was roundly silenced.

But he did not remain so. Behind bars and in the period immediately after his release, Wilde wrote two of his most powerful works—the long autobiographical letter De Profundis and an expansive best-selling poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

In The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde, Nicholas Frankel collects these and other prison writings, accompanied by historical illustrations and his rich facing-page annotations. As Frankel shows, Wilde experienced prison conditions designed to break even the toughest spirit, and yet his writings from this period display an imaginative and verbal brilliance left largely intact.

Wilde also remained politically steadfast, determined that his writings should inspire improvements to Victorian England’s grotesque regimes of punishment. But while his reformist impulse spoke to his moment, Wilde also wrote for eternity.

At once a savage indictment of the society that jailed him and a moving testimony to private sufferings, Wilde’s prison writings—illuminated by Frankel’s extensive notes—reveal a very different man from the famous dandy and aesthete who shocked and amused the English-speaking world.

Nicholas Frankel is Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Frankel provides a valuable service in comprehensively editing these works for a fresh generation of readers.” — Joseph Bristow, University of California, Los Angeles

The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Edited by Nicholas Frankel
Harvard University Press
Paperback
408 pages
Publication: May 2018
ISBN 9780674984387
€17.00

# more books
The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde
-Clemency Petition to the Home Secretary, 2 July 1896
-De Profundis
-Letter to the Daily Chronicle, 27 May 1897
-The Ballad of Reading Gaol
-Letter to the Daily Chronicle, 23 March 1898

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Gerald Janecek: Everything Has Already Been Written. Moscow Conceptualist Poetry and Performance

In this book, Gerald Janecek provides a comprehensive account of Moscow Conceptualist poetry and performance, arguably the most important development in the arts of the late Soviet period and yet one underappreciated in the West.

Such innovative poets as Vsevolod Nekrasov, Lev Rubinstein, and Dmitry Prigov are among the most prominent literary figures of Russia in the 1980s and 1990s, yet they are virtually unknown outside Russia. The same is true of the numerous active Russian performance art groups, especially the pioneering Collective Actions group, led by the brilliantly inventive Andrey Monastyrsky.

Everything Has Already Been Written strives to make Moscow Conceptualism more accessible, to break the language barrier and to foster understanding among an international readership by thoroughly discussing a broad range of specific works and theories.

Janecek’s study is the first comprehensive analysis of Moscow Conceptualist poetry and theory, vital for an understanding of Russian culture in the post-Conceptualist era.

Gerald Janecek: is a professor emeritus of Russian at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of The Look of Russian Literature: Avant-Garde Visual Experiments, 1900–1930; ZAUM: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism; and Sight and Sound Entwined: Studies of the New Russian Poetry; and the editor of Staging the Image: Dmitry Prigov as Artist and Writer.

Everything Has Already Been Written.
Moscow Conceptualist Poetry and Performance
Gerald Janecek (Author)
Publication Date: December 2018
Studies in Russian Literature and Theory
312 pages
Northwestern University Press
-Paper Text – $39.95
ISBN 978-0-8101-3901-5
-Cloth Text – $120.00
ISBN 978-0-8101-3902-2

# new books
Moscow Conceptualist Poetry and Performance
Gerald Janecek
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Du Bois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment by Juliana Spahr

In 1956 W. E. B. Du Bois was denied a passport to attend the Présence Africaine Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris.

So he sent the assembled a telegram.

“Any Negro-American who travels abroad today must either not discuss race conditions in the United States or say the sort of thing which our State Department wishes the world to believe.”

Taking seriously Du Bois’s allegation, Juliana Spahr breathes new life into age-old questions as she explores how state interests have shaped U.S. literature. What is the relationship between literature and politics? Can writing be revolutionary? Can art be autonomous, or is escape from nations and nationalisms impossible?

Du Bois’s Telegram brings together a wide range of institutional forces implicated in literary production, paying special attention to three eras of writing that sought to defy political orthodoxies by contesting linguistic conventions: avant-garde modernism of the early twentieth century; social-movement writing of the 1960s and 1970s; and, in the twenty-first century, the profusion of English-language works incorporating languages other than English.

Spahr shows how these literatures attempted to assert their autonomy, only to be shut down by FBI harassment or coopted by CIA and State Department propagandists. Liberal state allies such as the Ford and Rockefeller foundations made writers complicit by funding multiculturalist works that celebrated diversity and assimilation while starving radical anti-imperial, anti-racist, anti-capitalist efforts.

Spahr does not deny the exhilarations of politically engaged art. But her study affirms a sobering reality: aesthetic resistance is easily domesticated.

Juliana Spahr is Professor of English at Mills College. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including The Winter the Wolf Came, Well Then There Now, and Response, winner of the National Poetry Series Award. She is also the editor, with Claudia Rankine, of American Women Poets in the 21st Century and received the O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Du Bois’s Telegram.
Literary Resistance and State Containment
by Juliana Spahr
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780674986961
ISBN-13: 978-0674986961
Publisher: Harvard University Press
October 23, 2018
Hardcover
256 pages
$29.95

# new books
Literary Resistance
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Aslı Erdoğan: The Stone Building and Other Places

Vivid stories from one of Turkey’s most admired contemporary female authors, whose political activism has made her the target of state persecution.

Three interconnected stories feature women whose lives have been interrupted by forces beyond their control. Exile, serious illness, or the imprisonment of one’s beloved are each met with versions of strength and daring, while there is no undoing what fate has wrought. These atmospheric, introspective tales culminate in an experimental, multi-voiced novella, whose “stone building” is a metaphor for the various oppressive institutions—prisons, police HQs, hospitals and psychiatric asylums—that dominate the lives of all of these characters. Here is a literary distillation of the alienation, helplessness, and controlled fury of exile and incarceration—both physical and mental—presented in a series of moving, allegorical portraits of lives ensnared by the structures of power.

Aslı Erdoğan (Istanbul, 1967) is a renowned, prize-winning author, journalist, and human rights activist whose fiction has been translated into many languages. She has published novels, collections of short stories and poetic prose, and selections from her political essays. As a journalist, she has covered controversial topics such as state violence, discrimination, and human rights, for which she has been persecuted in a variety of ways.

Erdogan was imprisoned for four months by the Turkish government in a sweeping roundup of dissident voices after the failed coup attempt of July 2016. The subject of both PEN International and PEN America advocacy campaigns, she was released from prison in late December 2016.

This is her second work to be translated into English.

“Aslı Erdoğan is an exceptionally perceptive and sensitive writer who always produces perfect literary texts.”—Orhan Pamuk, author of The Red-Haired Woman

Title The Stone Building and Other Places
Author Aslı Erdoğan
Translated by Sevinç Türkkan
Publisher City Lights Publishers
literature in translation
Title First Published 27 February 2018
Format Paperback
ISBN-10 0872867501
ISBN-13 9780872867505
Publication Date 27 February 2018
Main content page count 174
List Price $15.95

# new novel
Aslı Erdoğan
fleursdumal.nl magazine

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Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read – Sept. 23 – 29, 2018

Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read

The event is sponsored by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including: American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; The Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People for the American Way; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House. © 2018 Banned Books Week

 

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week 2018 will be held September 23 – 29. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. The Top Ten Challenged Books of 2017 are:

01
Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
02
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
03
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
04
The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
05
George written by Alex Gino
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
06
Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
07
To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
08
The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
09
And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
10
I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

https://bannedbooksweek.org/

# Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read – Sept. 23 – 29, 2018
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Chinese Authorities Razing Ai Weiwei’s Studio Part of Larger Attack on Artistic Expression

_____________________________________________________________________________

August 7, 2018
NEW YORK – The unannounced demolition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing is symptomatic of a larger attack on human rights and artistic expression in China, said PEN America today.

On August 6, Artist and activist Ai Weiwei announced on social media that authorities had demolished his Beijing artist studio. Ai stated that he had received no advance notice prior to the demolition. Although several of his works were damaged in the studio’s demolition, the artist explained that he is more preoccupied with the effects of China’s “urban development” projects on artists and migrant populations, saying: “Since last year, a policy was enacted to clear out migrant workers from Beijing . . . Those who do not belong to the establishment, including artists, are always the first to be discriminated against and sacrificed.”

Within the past few years, artist colonies including Songzhuang and Caochangdi—the latter an arts district that Ai helped develop—have been targeted for eviction and demolition. Artists have cited both runaway economic development and political disfavor as rationales for authorities’ hostile attitudes. More broadly, an urban development policy conceived last year to push migrant workers out of Beijing has empowered local authorities to take unannounced action to demolish property, a policy that has led to thousands of migrant workers losing their homes.

“Regardless of the government’s motives, the unannounced demolition of an artist’s studio is a demonstration of a lack of appreciation or even acknowledgment for the role of the artist in society,” said Julie Trébault, Director of PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection. “Around the world, artist studios and communes are spaces to be cherished, not discarded.”

PEN America leads the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and strengthening the network of organizations that support them. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC here.

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

the freedom to write
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The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam is a central figure not only in modern Russian but in world poetry, the author of some of the most haunting and memorable poems of the twentieth century.

A contemporary of Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetayeva, and Boris Pasternak, a touchstone for later masters such as Paul Celan and Robert Lowell, Mandelstam was a crucial instigator of the “revolution of the word” that took place in St. Petersburg, only to be crushed by the Bolshevik Revolution. Mandelstam’s last poems, written in the interval between his exile to the provinces by Stalin and his death in the Gulag, are an extraordinary testament to the endurance of art in the presence of terror.

This book represents a collaboration between the scholar Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin, one of contemporary America’s finest poets and translators. It also includes Mandelstam’s “Conversation on Dante,” an uncategorizable work of genius containing the poet’s deepest reflections on the nature of the poetic process.

Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938) was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where he attended the prestigious Tenishev School, before studying at the universities of St. Petersburg and Heidelberg and at the Sorbonne. Mandelstam first published his poems in Apollyon, an avant-garde magazine, in 1910, then banded together with Anna Akhmatova and Nicholas Gumilev to form the Acmeist group, which advocated an aesthetic of exact description and chiseled form, as suggested by the title of Mandelstam’s first book, Stone (1913).

During the Russian Revolution, Mandelstam left Leningrad for the Crimea and Georgia, and he settled in Moscow in 1922, where his second collection of poems, Tristia, appeared. Unpopular with the Soviet authorities, Mandelstam found it increasingly difficult to publish his poetry, though an edition of collected poems did come out in 1928. In 1934, after reading an epigram denouncing Stalin to friends, Mandelstam was arrested and sent into exile. He wrote furiously during these years, and his wife, Nadezhda, memorized his work in case his notebooks were destroyed or lost. (Nadezhda Mandelstam’s extraordinary memoirs of life with her husband, Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned, published in the 1970s, later helped to bring Mandelstam a worldwide audience.)

Clarence Brown is the author of a prize-winning biography of Mandelstam and is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton.

W.S. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927 and grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From 1949 to 1951 he worked as a tutor in France, Portugal, and Majorca. He has since lived in many parts of the world, most recently on Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. He is the author of many books of poems, prose, and translations and has received both the Pulitzer and the Bollingen Prizes for poetry, among numerous other awards.

The Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam
by Osip Mandelstam, translated from the Russian by Clarence Brown and by W.S. Merwin
Paperback
Series: New York Review Books Classics
Pages: 192
Publ. Date: August 31, 2004
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590170911
ISBN-13: 978-1590170915

Books That Everyone Should Read
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Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam is one of the greatest of twentieth-century poets and Voronezh Notebooks, a sequence of poems composed between 1935 and 1937 when he was living in internal exile in the Soviet city of Voronezh, is his last and most exploratory work.

Meditating on death and survival, on power and poetry, on marriage, madness, friendship, and memory, challenging Stalin between lines that are full of the sights and sounds of the steppes, blue sky and black earth, the roads, winter breath, spring with its birds and flowers and bees, the notebooks are a continual improvisation and an unapologetic affirmation of poetry as life.

Russia’s greatest poet in this century. — Joseph Brodsky

Mandelstam was a tragic figure. Even while in exile in Voronej, he wrote works of untold beauty and power. And he had no poetic forerunners… In all of world poetry, I know of no other such case. We know the sources of Pushkin and Blok, but who will tell us from where that new, divine harmony, Mandelstam’s poetry, came from? — Anna Akhmatova

Voronezh Notebooks by Osip Mandelstam,
translated from the Russian and with an introduction by Andrew Davis
ISBN: 9781590179109
Pages: 128
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Series: NYRB Poets
The New York Review of Books
Paperback

Books That Everyone Should Read
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Journey to Armenia by Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam visited Armenia in 1930, and during the eight months of his stay, he rediscovered his poetic voice and was inspired to write an experimental meditation on the country and its ancient culture.

This edition also includes the companion piece, “Conversation About Dante,” which Seamus Heaney called “Osip Mandelstam’s astonishing fantasia on poetic creation.” An incomparable apologia for poetic freedom and a challenge to the Bolshevik establishment, the essay was dictated by the poet to his wife, Nadezhda Mandelstam, in 1934 and 1935, during the last phase of his itinerant life. It has close ties to the Journey to Armenia.

Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938) was born and raised in St. Petersburg, where he attended the prestigious Tenishev School, before studying at the universities of St. Petersburg and Heidelberg and at the Sorbonne.

Mandelstam first published his poems in Apollyon, an avant-garde magazine, in 1910, then banded together with Anna Akhmatova and Nicholas Gumilev to form the Acmeist group, which advocated an aesthetic of exact description and chiseled form, as suggested by the title of Mandelstam’s first book, Stone (1913). During the Russian Revolution, Mandelstam left Leningrad for the Crimea and Georgia, and he settled in Moscow in 1922, where his second collection of poems, Tristia, appeared.

Unpopular with the Soviet authorities, Mandelstam found it increasingly difficult to publish his poetry, though an edition of collected poems did come out in 1928. In 1934, after reading an epigram denouncing Stalin to friends, Mandelstam was arrested and sent into exile. He wrote furiously during these years, and his wife, Nadezhda, memorized his work in case his notebooks were destroyed or lost. (Nadezhda Mandelstam’s extraordinary memoirs of life with her husband, Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned, published in the 1970s, later helped to bring Mandelstam a worldwide audience.

Journey to Armenia by Osip Mandelstam,
introduction by Henry Gifford,
translated from the Russian by Sydney Monas, Clarence Brown, and Robert Hughes
Series: Notting Hill Editions
ISBN: 9781907903472
Pages: 192
Publication Date in Hardcover:
September 25, 2018

new books
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Call on Iran to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

 

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly two years on bogus charges. She hasn’t committed any crime.

Nazanin has been told that she could be charged again and face another trial imminently, which may result in an even longer prison sentence.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a 39-year-old British-Iranian woman, who ordinarily lives with her husband and young daughter in London.  She works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a UK-based media charity. This has been used against her as evidence of ‘membership of an illegal group’, the charge that Nazanin was found guilty of at an unfair trial which saw her sentenced to five years in prison

She was arrested on 3 April 2016 at a Tehran airport, when she was about to board a plane home to the UK with her then one-year-old daughter, Gabriella. They had been on holiday in Iran visiting Nazanin’s parents – a trip Nazanin had made many times before, without incident.

At the airport, they were stopped by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Nazanin was taken into custody, without being told why, and Gabriella was given to her grandparents, who had accompanied them to the airport. Gabriella’s UK passport was confiscated at the airport (she does not have an Iranian passport), though it has since been returned.

When Nazanin was first detained, she wasn’t told why. She was put in solitary confinement. She was held in solitary for 45 days, and could not speak to her family or a lawyer. Her family were not told the reasons for her imprisonment.

Nazanin did not have a fair trial. She was only allowed access to a lawyer three days before her trial. In September 2016, Nazanin was sentenced to five years in prison for ‘membership of an illegal group’.

Nazanin’s physical and mental health is suffering. She suffers from severe arm, neck and back pain as a result of her prison conditions, and her hair is falling out. Nazanin’s husband has most recently said that she is worried about lumps on her breast.

Her family say that Nazanin has been extremely distressed and depressed during her imprisonment and separation from Gabriella. Last November, Nazanin wrote a suicidal letter to her family. A year has passed and her mental health has continued to decline.

The Iranian authorities have a track record of not allowing prisoners the healthcare they need – especially for people imprisoned on political charges – and this is sadly the case for Nazanin too.

◊ Amnesty International UK asks to take action. We (FDM mag.) support their work.

◊ Help get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home.

◊ Call on Iran to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

# More information on website Amnesty International UK

free prisoner of conscience: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
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Free Liu Xia, China, poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre

Liu Xia, China, is a poet, artist, and founding member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. Xia has been held under unofficial house arrest in her Beijing apartment since her late husband, the poet Liu Xiaobo, was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010.

For seven years, Liu Xia (1961) was held in her apartment without access to phones, internet, doctors of her choice, or visitors. Following the death of her husband in July 2017 and the expression of concern for her wellbeing, Xia appeared in a video in which she asked to be left alone to mourn – it is thought that she may have done this at the behest of the authorities.

The Independent PEN Centre (ICPC) report that the restrictions applied against Liu Xia have relaxed somewhat; she has access to a telephone and is allowed to leave her home, but is under constant surveillance. Colleagues at ICPC report that Liu Xia has been removed from Beijing for the duration of the National People’s Congress; it is expected that she will be returned to her Beijing home after this date.

There are reports that Liu Xia’s mental and physical health continue to suffer due to her detention.

PEN International believes that the ongoing, extra-judicial house arrest of Liu Xia is a form of punishment for the human rights work carried out by her husband, Liu Xiaobo, and is extremely concerned for her physical and psychological integrity.

 

Please take action for Liu Xia.

# More information and how to act, see website PEN UK

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