Poetry is the journey of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance - Carl Sandburg..........Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one's soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject - John Keats .........Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge - William Wordsworth ..........Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand - Plato .........No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language - Samuel Taylor Coleridge .........One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to us all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves - W. H. Auden ...........Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash - Leonard Cohen .........There is a pleasure in poetic pains which only poets know - William Cowper .........Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood -T. S. Eliot ..........Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason - Novalis...........He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life - George Sand .........A poem is never finished, only abandoned - Paul Valery ........A poet is a bird of unearthly excellence, who escapes from his celestial realm arrives in this world warbling. If we do not cherish him, he spreads his wings and flies back into his homeland - Kahlil Gibran.............Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance - John Keats..........To be a poet is a condition, not a profession - Robert Frost........A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself - E. M. Forster.........Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo - Don Marquis...........Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things - T. S. Eliot ..........You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick. You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in - Dylan Thomas .........Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words - Paul Engle......... There is not a joy the world can give like that it takes away! Lord Byron

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Hong Kong Lights Candles for Darwish


Nadwah - Hong Kong - 28 August 2008



In its monthly literary salon, Arabic Nadwah organized a poetry reading of Mahmoud Darwish's poetry in Arabic, Chinese, and English on 28 August.

    The event, which lasted for two hours, started at 8pm with a word by poet Sayed Gouda who spoke of Darwish and his importance not only in the Arabic region but in the world too, and how he devoted his life to poetry, and in return, poetry opened its gates for him. 'Darwish was the only poet in the world now who could cause a traffic jam when he visited a country. Darwish was probably the only poet in the world whose name could fill a stadium if his reading was to be held in a stadium because he had a special charisma not seen in other poets in our time,' added Gouda who also spoke of three specialties that distinguished Darwish's poetry. Firstly, Darwish could satisfy the three types of a reader: the professional critique, the cultured reader, and the simple reader and it is almost impossible to satisfy all of them. Secondly, his humbleness in regarding himself to the extent that he was not considering himself a great poet, nor had he considered himself deserving Nobel prize not only because of some political reasons but also for literary reasons. This affirms how great Darwish was! If not for literature being mingled with politics, by all means Darwish would have won Nobel prize. Thirdly, his prophecy as Darwish was a seer-poet who wrote about his death as though he had seen it approaching him on a certain day at a certain hour when he wrote in his book 'The Butterfly Burden': 'I thought I died on Saturday'. He died on Saturday 9 August! 'Darwish was one of those poets whom the world doesn't have except every few decades,' concluded Gouda.

    Before starting the reading the attendants lit up candles for Darwish's soul. The reading started with Gouda reading excerpts of 'The Dice Player' in Arabic followed by translations in English and Chinese. Other poems, namely 'To My Mother', 'Like a Small Coffee Shop is Love', 'I'm Joseph, Father!' were read in the three languages by poets and writers from different nationalities such as Madeleine Marie Slavick (USA), Michael Holland (Australia), Michael Burke (UK), Jamila Ismail (Canada), Judy Keung (HK), Polly Ho (HK), Katherine (HK). Discussions followed the reading of each poem to further deepen the appreciation of Darwish's poetry. The readings were accompanied by music performance by Eugene, an artist from Hong Kong, using dutar and tanbur - two local musical instruments from Uzbekistan. Eugene's music contributed to the spiritual atmosphere enjoyed by all. Photos of the Middle East taken by poet and photographer Madeleine Marie Slavick were displayed to match the theme of the night.

    At the end of the event, the attendants gathered to take some group photos with Darwish's photo in the background surrounded by candles that shed their tears for his departure.




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