Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First International Festival of Poetry of Resistance In Honor of the Cuban Five

Poet Allison Hedge Coke ( a featured poet at Split This Rock's next festival) attended the International Festival of Poetry of Resistance in Toronto recently and sent us some photographs and insights.

For those who don't know, the Cuban Five are a group of artists who are imprisoned in the United States after being accused of and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. More information about them can be found here. The intent of the festival was to celebrate resistance, to promote the end of the culture of war, and to promote an end to racism and discrimination. The festival's statement of principles and further information can be found here.

During the festival, many poets and musicians turned out in support of the Cuban Five.

Allison Hedge Coke tells us that the crowd was "absolutely mesmerized by poet and co-organizer Asoke Chakravarty on tabla and Anwar Khurshid on sitar. Anwar's hands moved so fast at one point, they were difficult to see.

Osaze Dolabaille played some Calypso and drummed as he read poetry.

Poet Carlos Angulo was one of many poets to read, including co-organizer Maria Elena, Allison Hedge Coke, Nancy Morejon, Pablo Armando Fernández, and many more.

Thomas Maracle, musician and flautist, Mohawk of the Six Nations Confederacy of Tyendenaga, played several songs on various (very beautiful) flutes.

Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramón Labañino, one of the Cuban Five was present. She spoke about her husband's imprisonment, about the four other families affected, and the two wives who were denied US visas to visit their husbands. The crowd cheered with support when she appeared on stage.

Dan Doreen, War Society of the Mohawk of the Six Nations Confederacy of Tyendenaga, gifted Elizabeth with a solidarity gift at Innis Hall, Innis College, U of Toronto, on Wednesday night for the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution.

We are inspired by this sister festival and grateful to Allison for her report and photos. Please keep the news of poetry and resistance coming.


Wondermachine said...

I hope you will focus equal attention to the continued human rights violations in Cuba and the largely Afro-Cuban movement for human rights on the island. It's been thoroughly documented by Amnesty International...

and here:

Katherine Howell said...

Thanks for the links, Wondermachine.