I am in Sarajevo, attending the International Poetry Meeting for Peace. There are fifteen on us poets who are reading, most are from Europe, Luis Rodriquez and myself are the only Americans (and I am waving my Jamaican flag) because we were told The USA Embassy is the only one that refuses to support bringing poets – some how I am not surprised.
When I arrived in Sarajevo I was pleasantly amazed at the beauty. Having read so much about the war, I had expected to see remnants of destruction all over, but this is not the case. Poet Zijad Jusufovic (Whisper of the Cosmos, his poetry collection), who also doubles as an official guide says over 5 hundred billion dollars was pumped into the city to rebuilt it, but in the villages and just outside the city limits very little has been done. And true enough, I say such evidence on my tour: bullet riddled and hallowed buildings, and other visible signs of the war. Even in the city children and women can be seen begging. Supposedly, the employment is as high as 45% and most young people are seeking to leave. Still if you walk around downtown Sarajeno you might question this data as there are numerous cafes which are always packed, from early in the morning through late night, with people smoking, drinking coffee or other beverage drinks and sweets.
However, people in Bosnia support poetry. The theatre was packed Friday, opening night, when I read. All poems were translated into Italian and Bosnian and the audience read the poems projected on a screen while each poet read in their native language. Sharing the stage with me were Giancarlo Pontiggia, Italy, Tomaz Salamu, Slovenija, Ada Salas, Spain, and Marko Vesovic, Bosnia. I was accompanied by three musicians, Luca Colussi on drums, Almir Nezic, bass and Riccardo Morgpurgo on keyboards. Casa della Poesia, under the direction of Sergio Iagulli and Raffaela Marzano, is the sponsor of this event.
Causes Opal Adisa Supports
California Poets in the Schools
Homeless Shelter for Pregnant Women