Poetry and peace (#PoemsforPeace)

“We need poets to reawaken us to the ways in which our way of life may be contributing to conflicts at home and abroad… To compose poetry that’s at once large and small enough to make those connections—deeply global and yet scaled locally—is no easy task. Yet I can’t imagine how we can do without it.” (Philip Metres)

Today is World Poetry Day and we’re bringing you a day of poetry about peace.

It turns out this is not such an original idea! A Google search shows some really good websites with curated lists and also leads us to several collective efforts to either compile poetry for peace or bring together poets who write on peace.

Here are some examples:

Philip Metres has a wonderful essay, from which the opening quotation is taken, in which he writes about peace poetry and also introduces us to some poets.

Bob Holman & Margery Snyder have compiled some poems on their page, Poems for Peace.

The PeacePoets have a website that brings together spoken word and poetry. Take a look at this, written and performed in Kabul:

The people of Afghanistan WANT

Enough peace to hear the music of their land,

the laughter of their children,

the sound of a man laying a brick to build a home that he can know is not

going to be destroyed

But war turns people into enemies

Schools into battlefields

Homes into badly built bomb shelters

War turns, us against, each other

But we turn, toward each other

to love all sisters and brothers

We will turn this war torn nation

Back into a place where we can dance

And that is our dream,

We are hoping

This war will never turn thirteen…

There is more than one ‘peace poetry’ contest out there, a few in the beautiful upstate New York area–which has been the scenic setting for many protests historically.

At Prajnya, we’ve returned to poetry time and again as one of the most effective ways to communicate our concerns, our politics and our determination to imagine a better world. This is not the first time we are bringing the literary to this blog but it is the first time we are celebrating peace through poetry.

We hope you enjoy the posts that follow! And we invite you to share your favourite peace poems with us–including those you’ve written. peace.prajnya@gmail.com is our address!


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