Human Rights Series
edited by Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler with Edward Morin
introduction by Alicia Ostriker
letters from Vivien Sansour
a note by Christi Kramer
edited by Melissa Kwasny & M. L. Smoker
. . . When we made our call for submissions for an anthology of poems in defense of human rights, the allegations of torture were foremost in our minds. We knew people were outraged, saddened, profoundly moved and ashamed. But we also wanted to reach people who had suffered violations of their own rights from circumstances across the globe, or whose families had, or for whom preventing or healing these violations had become a life’s work. We drafted our call loosely: we are increasingly witness to torture, terrorisms and other violations of human rights at unprecedented degrees. What do our instincts tell us and what is our response to these violations? What is our vision of a future wherein human rights are not only respected but expanded?
What we received were both first hand accounts of violation—see prisoner Adrian English’s “raped man’s stream of consciousness,” or Farnoosh Moshiri’s poem recounting the terror of giving birth in Iran, or Li-Young Lee’s “self-help for fellow refugees”—and responses from people who feel struck personally by the blows enacted on others: to speak for, to speak as, and to speak against. We were surprised at the range of issues spoken to by the poets. While torture remained a critical topic, as well as issues at stake in the Iraq war, there were also poems that addressed immigrant rights, prisoners’ rights, the holocaust, the wars in Cambodia, Vietnam, Serbia, South America, Palestine and Israel. We received poems that spoke of suicide bombing, violence against women, the aftermath of 9/11, and outlawing marriage for gay Americans. . . .
- edited by Carolyne Wright, M.L. Lyons & Eugenia Toledo
This remarkable anthology, gathered in tribute to Lilly Ledbetter with a toast to Carolyn Kizer, gathers the lyric art of working women, writing from the depths of at least sixty-two occupations. These are the poems of the heavy-lifters, night-shifters, line and piece workers, writing with grace and often with humor: poets who punch clocks, woman the phones and decks, weave, weld and can, cotton-pick and cold call, thread-spin, typeset and teach. They sex-work, they ship-build, plaster and preach, butcher and drive the bus. This is anthology as page-turner, as fist in the air, as do-it-yourself manual against despair. Here, and in gratitude to Lily Ledbetter, is the music of a movement, and it is one of the best of our time.