Last January when the news was filled with major trouble between Israel and Palestine, my niece, Grace Beeler <www.gracebeeler.blogspot.com> and I, Joan Dobbie <www.joandobbie.blogspot.com> were deeply upset, feeling the confusion between our Jewish identities (my parents, her grandparents, holocaust survivors) and guilt about Israel's brutal attacks on Palestine, feeling helpless. We couldn’t quite get a grasp on the seemingly ridiculous historical emnity between us Jews and our cousins, the Arabs. Why was this happening? Always. Century after century. Could nothing be done to create the possibility of peace?
During a phone conversation, we realized that we could in fact do a real thing to promote peace. We could create a poetry anthology addressing the issues. Poetry, at least good poetry, reaches deep into the human psyche. Poetry has power.We put this ad into Poets & Writers and a few other places:
“Are you Jewish or Palestinian? of Palestinian or Jewish heritage? Please submit poetry for an anthology that strives for understanding in these troubled times. All points of view wanted in the belief that poetry can create understanding and understanding can dull hatred. Please e-mail submissions to <email@example.com>.Previously published o.k. with credits.”Our tentative deadline is January 1, 2010.
And, the submissions started coming in. The poems we’ve been getting are incredibly strong. Many from middle eastern poets, often Israelis. Others from the U.S. and Canada. The poems submitted range from heart-rending to heart-stopping, expressing everything from Biblical analogies, to fury, to explanation, to resignation, to hope. The beauty of the land and its peoples, the pain this warfare causes on a daily basis, is everywhere evident. The anthology, as it is taking form, includes the works of poet laureates, prize winners of all sorts, poets of the highest calliber, and we have decided to offer the collection to an outside publisher, who can give this powerful, meaningful work, the attention and respect it deserves. If no outside publisher picks it up, we will, of course, publish nonetheless through my own “The Unforgettables Press” using a reputable print-as-you buy company.
If, as you read this blog, you have poetry that you would like to submit, please know that if accepted, it will be in the best of company. And If you have suggestions of possible publishers, please let us know so we can contact them. Or let them know so they can contact us.
Shalom, Salam, Peace,
Poets Responding <firstname.lastname@example.org>