Poetry in Baghdad

Every time I hear Baghdad mentioned in the news my face and stomach both turn to sour. The American death tolls, the Iraqi death tolls, Bush, politics, etc. All of it makes me want to holler. Can the world get any worse? Surely, but I’m in no mood to discuss politics tonight. Instead I’m going to point you to this NPR piece on poetry. No, wait, not just poetry, but poetry shared in what they call the “Freedom Tent” in Baghdad so I suppose they’ll be some politics involved after all, but not from me.

Organized by the women’s Freedom in Iraq group, the goal is to bring Sunni’s from Madaan (a violent neighborhood in south Baghdad) together with Shiites from Sadr City to open up and share poems filled with both hope and grief. The environment is peaceful and the energy is the same. What would the world be like if it were always the way things went in the Freedom Tent? Who knows? Still, I have always loved poetry and the words from within insiders in foreign places. The pauses, winding of the words and the words themselves always have a different feeling and ring to them. Kind of like gun shots and the pitter-patter of children’s feet running down dark Baghdad streets to find shelter. The pause in the poet’s poem – the brief moment in time when the violence has ceased.

If you’re into news, arts, and culture – check it out.