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Granted, most people will not want to read this collection solely based on who created it, but that is their loss. I expected to hear nothing but anti-American and anti-Western rants but instead came to see a familiarity with other prisoner created poetry. Most of the poems here are laments to loss of freedoms, which at times can be quite moving. There is certainly anger and animosity, some of it directed both specifically and vaguely. None of these are what I would call great works of poetry, but then again I'm neither a poet nor a literary critic, so I'll leave that to the professionals.

They are more memorable for the emotions they evoke and what they have to say than for how they are said, which is the hallmark of poetry. If you believe the detainees represent a clear and present danger to Western Society, then there's little here that will change your mind. In fact it's doubtful you'd pick this up in the first place or if you did it would re-enforce your beliefs that they should be detained indefinitely. Thinking of the target market for "Poems" it is clearly for people of conscience who believe that anyone falsely imprisoned and detained their rights should be freed.

For them "Poems" is a must have and a rallying cry for why these detainees should be released. In the push to strip these detainees of their humanity "Poems" seeks to return some of that to them.


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The poems are grouped by their author, along with a thumbnail sketch of who they are, where they were captured, and other details and facts about them, that certainly is done to reconstruct some degree of their identity and humanity. And that ultimately is the point of "Poems. Granted, some will criticize that these poems got out or complain that these detainees are somehow profiting off their terroristic acts or using "Poems" as propaganda.

I can't speak to the veracity of any of that or to the artistic merit of the poetry. What I can say is that the poetry contained here showed universality with prisoners of many different places and ages, and that it helped to humanize the detainees. That said, there's little here that will affirm your faith in humanity or give you a warm fuzzy feeling.

One person found this helpful. This small selection of poems "Poems from Guantanamo" is a triumph of endurance and courage. These poets, Guantanamo Bay detainees, have been held for years without any trial and routinely tortured. All in a United States military detention centre. This profound poetry, written against all odds, is a testament to the indestructable power of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable cruelty on so many levels. Attention to them is urgent This poetry is even more remarkable given that it is always difficult for translations to impart the power of poetry through different words in a different language.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Amazing read, heart breaking and thought provoking. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys seeing things from alternate perspectives.

A necessary read for anyone who has anything to say about our policies toward an endless "war on terror. Learning to listen, being able to listen, to those most impacted by our policies might significantly improve who we are as a people. World War I yielded poetry by Wilfred Owen, a young poet who suffered and eventually died in that war. The power of his words "I am the enemy you killed my friend Although this book is short, it's an incredible glimpse into the thoughts of these prisoners.

They had to go through so much and to hear their words is a gift from them. I felt like they were nearly robbed of their voices, but broke through that barrier with their poems. I read from this book recently at an Open Mic Night, and I am so glad that I could use their words to create a greater awareness about what happened to them.

See all 14 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on August 28, Published on April 18, Published on January 19, Published on February 26, Published on January 11, Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem?

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Poems from Guantanamo by Marc Falkoff. The Detainees Speak by Marc Falkoff editor ,. The Detainees Speak 3. Since , at least men have been held in the U. According to Department of Defense data, fewer than half of them are accused of committing any hostile act against the United States or its allies. In hundreds of cases, even the circumstances of their initial detainment are questionable. This collection gives voice to the men Since , at least men have been held in the U. Death Poem by Jumah al Dossari Take my blood.

Take my death shroud and The remnants of my body.

Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely. Send them to the world, To the judges and To the people of conscience, Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded. And let them bear the guilty burden before the world, Of this innocent soul. Let them bear the burden before their children and before history, Of this wasted, sinless soul, Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the "protectors or peace.

He has been in solitary confinement since the end of and, according to the U. Hardcover , 84 pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Poems from Guantanamo , please sign up.

Project MUSE - Poems from Guantanamo

Be the first to ask a question about Poems from Guantanamo. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Oct 06, Jon athan Nakapalau rated it it was amazing Shelves: Poems written by detainees at Guantanamo: View all 4 comments. Apr 26, arafat rated it really liked it. Humanity finds a voice in words that emerge from the depravity of the dark cells that are Guantanamo.

He is still missing. The short blurbs on the authors are as powerful and disturbing as the poems themselves. May 15, Angel rated it really liked it Shelves: This little book is a must read. More people in the United States, who likely have no idea of the atrocious treatment the "enemy combatants" get in Guantanamo, should read this.

The poetry varies in its themes. There are some militant poems, and there are poems that simply present the poet's yearning for home. Some are only a couple of lines, and others are a bit longer. All of them are moving; the imagery rich and flowing.


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  • In addition to the poem, the book features supplementary material--the i This little book is a must read. In addition to the poem, the book features supplementary material--the introduction, preface, and afterword-- by writers and scholars that put the poetry in context.

    Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak, Edited by Marc Falkoff

    Some readers may be tempted to skip this material, but the material puts the poetry in context as well as provide a good overview of some of the poetry styles and poetic devices these poets use, often drawing on various Arabic literary traditions. Personally, I was moved by Dorfman's afterword, which recalls the oppression in Pinochet's Chile, comparing it to what the U. Certainly few of these poems open with pious supplications, in contrast to religious poetry.

    To be sure, studies of Islamic reform movements suggest that many global jihadists have a weak understanding of core Muslim beliefs and indeed have more affinity with Marxist revolutionaries than with religious devotees. Such structures are reflections of our true realities, forms of oppression and horror that exist because they are fully and totally situated within our very sense of who and what we have become.

    Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak

    And as critics of literature in translation, we should always be aware of the distance that exists between us and the work at hand. This fact should never be taken for granted. We should not, therefore, simply read individual poems in the search for literary quality—even though some are excellent poems—but rather read them with an eye toward achieving an understanding of what poetry can suggest as poetry. It is only in approaching the poems in such a manner that we can even hope to articulate the complexities of the situations that gave rise to such works.

    This sort of poetic justice makes a travesty of equality before the law. The same goes for the lyric. To fully unravel such a complex knot is impossible. Any totalizing answer would be reductive and would fall into the trap of prioritizing either the aesthetic or the political.

    Here is the poem in full: