Poetry can take on many forms, and like fine art, can be appreciated on different levels. Just as one can analyze a piece of classical art, someone else might prefer abstract, or a piece of cryptic graffiti. Like music, it could take on a popular rhythm like rap or rock, complex and classical, or it could be contemplative like a slow waltz. Depending on the style of the writer, poetry can be more evocative than any speech, or verbal plea for social change.
I would like to introduce you to Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian -American writer and poet, who was the recipient of the American book award, and the Arab American book award for poetry, in 2009.
Although some of my readers may already be familiar with her work, she epitomizes the voice of women for peace, in her "Poems of war, peace , women and power."
Her poetry grabs the listener from the first word, and elevates you to a place where you cannot help but listen intently, and become an involved spectator of women surviving in Palestine, women in Garza, and on the war torn streets of Iraq.
She uses a form of poetry where she throws up short sentences, and finely tuned word salads, that ultimately fall in perfectly punctuated patterns, illustrating her rebellion, her refusal to participate in the war dance, her cries of protest.
These poems are rap-like, almost as complex as jazz, yet her message clear and focused as a piece of Mozart.
"This heart beat is louder than death; your war drum ain't louder than this breath."
She astounds the listener with stunning statements that resonate long after the poem is over,
"Do not fear what has blown up.
If you must; fear the unexploded."
I do not compare my poetry to that of Suheir Hammad. The only thing we have in common is that we both write poetry for social change.
I do not presume to be an expert or critic on the matter, or the mature poet
In my book, The Moon of Compassion, my poetry is simple, and designed to appeal to a different audience; an everyday audience, looking for an everyday expression, maybe stimulating thought and a different perspective.
But I address very uncomfortable issues, such as terrorism, bullying, emotional abuse, and homophobia. I use illustration to add an extra dimension to the perception, and I add audio files so the reader can hear my own rendition.
However, my message today is essentially this:
Read or listen to what moves you. Listen to the pulse of politics and people. Listen to, or read poetry with a message of positive social change.
I am putting a link to Suheir Hammad's performance on TED talks below.
It is well worth your while....