Friday, 28 September 2012

Kali Yug Express by Claude Pelieu

Kali Yug Express by Claude Pelieu, translated into English by Mary Beach, with a foreword by Charles Plymell. Published by Bottle of Smoke Press, Dover, Delaware, USA, 2012.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword: Massive global arts movement mobilizes to change the world

Over 800 Events Planned in 115 Countries for100 Thousand Poets for Change

Santa Rosa, Calif. (September 24, 2012) – September 29, 2012 marks the second  annual global event for 100 Thousand Poets for Change, a grassroots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social, and political change within the framework of peace and sustainability. An event that began primarily with poet organizers, 100 Thousand Poets for Change has grown into an interdisciplinary coalition with year round events which includes musicians, dancers, mimes, painters and photographers from around the world.

Local issues are still key to this massive global event as communities around the world raise their voices on issues such as homelessness, global warming, education, racism and censorship, through concerts, readings, lectures, workshops, flash mobs, theater performances and other actions.

But these locally focused events have taken on a more continuous and expansive form through the new disciplines represented this year. For example, photographers are making a long-term project out of the event; they will document the involvement of their communities and explore connections with the broader global issues to turn into future exhibits. More and more organizers and participants of the one day, annual event are making plans to continue their actions after September 29. Many have formed groups in their cities that will continue to work year-round towards the goals their community seeks. 

“Peace and sustainability are major concerns worldwide, and the guiding principles for this global event,” said Michael Rothenberg, Co-Founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. “We are in a world where it isn't just one issue that needs to be addressed. A common ground is built through this global compilation of local stories, which is how we create a true narrative for discourse to inform the future.” 

More than 200 hundred bands will be performing around the world, from Los Angeles, New Orleans and Detroit to Serbia, Nigeria and Italy. The musicians involved in this movement are once again using their songs and performances to try to communicate their concerns to the world. As Ross Altman, singer-songwriter, activist and educator, reminds us: “from Plato, who banned [musicians] from the Republic, to Putin, who had Russian punk band members of Pussy Riot arrested, charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for a song prayer, musicians throughout history have been regarded as a danger and threat to change the social order.”

In addition to the hundreds of musicians expressing themselves through song, numerous Mimes for Change events in Egypt, Turkey and Uruguay will take place in addition to the day long poetry festivals in Los Angeles, Guatemala City, Pune, India, La Plata, Argentina and Genoa, Italy; thousands of musicians, poets and artists are participating around the world, totaling nearly 800 events globally, including: 

• 25 different events in the San Francisco Bay Area, the birthplace of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, including poetry readings by Beat Legend Michael McClure, former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass and other major poets at the famed Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival

• In New Orleans, 15 live bands will perform to raise funds for the APEX Youth Center and Homegrown Harvest Music and Arts Festival

• In Hollywood, Florida, Global Vibes will host an event called, “War Destroys Children’s Lives” at two venues and feature over 15 “Bands for Change”

• Peace On Streets, R.O.A.D., Tasker Elite and SHARP will host performance artists, poets, musicians, hip hop artists and various youth and parent groups who will perform and lead workshops throughout Philadelphia to bring awareness to the ongoing problem of street violence in their city 

• Wordstock, a 3-day festival at the Bamboo Arts and Celebration Center in De Leon Springs, FL will include poetry slams, concerts, and an art exhibition focusing on images of war and peace 

• The Occupy Wall Street Poetry group kicks off a weekend of events in New York City with a poetry reading at the famous St. Mark’s Poetry Project

• In Jamaica, a week long Street Dub Vibe series called “Tell the Children the Truth” will include concerts, spoken word performances, art exhibits, lectures and workshops to bring attention to the damaging culture of secrecy and denial surrounding the abuse, poverty and illiteracy impacting the nation’s children and destroying their future. 

• Poetry and peace gatherings are planned in the strife-torn cities of Kabul and 
Jalalabad, Afghanistan  

• In Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, poets, musicians and mime artists, in response to violence in the world and the major changes taking place in the Arab World, will perform in public spaces and theaters and explore new ways to communicate their concerns, and their roles as artists, in influencing the future of their country 

• In Volos, Greece, there will be 5 days of poetry and music events, including an 
exhibition of photography looking at the new phenomenon of homelessness in Greece 

• An event in Blackpool, England will celebrate activist poets and writers of past 
generations through a special performance of Bullets and Daffodils, a play about the life of peace poet Wilfred Owen 

Organizers and participants are hoping through their actions and events to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability. Those that want to get involved can visit to find an event near them or sign up to organize one in their area. 

About 100 Thousand Poets for Change 
100 Thousand Poets for Change began in Sonoma County, Calif. The official Headquarters’ Event will take place at the Arlene Francis Center in downtown Santa Rosa and will feature poetry readings, group meditations, workshops, and music and dance of various styles including hip hop, flamenco, African drums, reggae, salsa, folk and more. The HQ event will also live-stream other 100 Thousand Poets for Change events worldwide. This 3-day event is sponsored by the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Arts Council.  

Immediately following September 29th, all documentation on the website, which will include specific event pages with photos, video and other documentation compiled by each city coordinator, will be preserved by Stanford University in California. Stanford recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change in 2011 as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will continue to archive the complete contents of, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS. 

Co-Founder Michael Rothenberg ( is a widely known poet, editor of the online literary magazine and an environmental activist based in Northern California. Terri Carrion is a poet, translator, photographer, and editor and visual designer for 

100 Thousand Poets for Change 
P.O. Box 870 
Guerneville, Ca 95446 
Phone: 305-753-4569 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lion, by Thurston Moore

Published by Bottle of Smoke Press, Dover, Delaware, USA, 2012 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Melville Poetry Festival Promises More Than Just Words

Photo: Rene Bohnen
The second Melville Poetry Festival will transform the Joburg suburb into a buzz of contemporary cultural cool as iconic Seventh Street with its restaurants and bars become a hive of all things poetic from 12 to 14 October.

This year’s event received a significant boost with sponsorship from Die Dagbreek Trust  and others. This has allowed it to develop a broad programme where music, art and poetry will intersect in “a festival of the poetic,” says organiser Hans Pienaar. The slogan is “it’s more than words”.

Artists such as Willem Boshoff, Hennie Meyer, Danie Marais and Diek Grobler will contribute visual interpretations of the poetic idea. There will be exhibitions of art works incorporating text and poetry and various art installations.

Music will feature prominently including through the hugely popular slam poetry platform, Oopmond, which pits poets and musicians against each other. At least two Oopmond sessions are on the cards. Negotiations are continuing with up and coming young bands that specialise in more poetic lyrics. A programme of lieder will be offered alongside items bordering on street genres such as kwaito.

Poets from all over the country will take part. These include Kobus Moolman, Michelle McGrane, Khulile Nxumalo, Mxolosi Nyezwa, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Gary Cummiskey, Tumelo Khoza, Gail Dendy, Arja Salafranca, Peter Horn, David Chislett, Afurakan, Alan Finlay, Hans Pienaar, Mphutlane wa Bofelo, Phillippa de Villiers and Lionel Murcott. 

Poets who work specifically in Afrikaans include Loftus Marais, Rene Bohnen, Andries Bezuidenhout, Toast Coetzer, Danie Marais, Johann Myburgh, Ian Raper, Mellet Moll, Christo van Staden, Charl-Pierre Naude, Corne Coetzee, Jo Prins, Ronel Nel and De Waal Venter. .

Several of the participants will use the festival to launch their most recent anthologies whilst open mike sessions will allow festival-goers to give their own efforts a bash.

The programme will also include panel discussions on contemporary sociocultural issues ranging from the crisis in education to the concept of “lojale verset” or “loyal resistance”.  Two chill-out lounges will provide non-stop playlists of documentaries on poetry and poets as well as lyrical songs.

According to Pienaar, the Melville Poetry Festival intends to provide a multilingual and cultural showcase for poets from all walks of life.

 “Crossover is the driving force for the festival. We want to show that poetry is not an activity for hermits, but something that we all use as daily as part of using language. We envisage a space in which kwaito and Boerneef will jostle together to entertain with the same effortless ease.”

Poets and other performers or artists wishing to get involved with the Melville Poetry Festival are invited to contact Hans Pienaar on email: or mobile: 082 447 6404.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Drawing Thirteen January-2002

100 000 Poets Come To Johannesburg

September 29 marks the second anniversary of 100 000 Poets for Change, a global event initiated by US poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion last year, which draws poets, artists and musicians together on a single day to simultaneously call for environmental, cultural, social and political change.

This year there will be about 700 events throughout the world, including in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein.

The Johannesburg event is being held under the auspices of the Melville Poetry Festival at Picobella restaurant, Melville. The excellent line-up of poets comprises Gary Cummiskey, Arja Salafranca, Michelle McGrane, Gerard Rudolf, Hans Pienaar, Corné Coetzee, Rene Bohnen, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, David Chislett, Alan Finlay and Khulile Nxumalo.

Pienaar’s new Afrikaans novel, Chaos, of Op Soek Na Superman (Chaos, or in search of Superman) will also be launched at the event.

By using readings, concerts and workshops, communities throughout the world can address issues such as censorship, abuse of power, social inequality, racism and poverty, according to Rothenberg. 

“With 100 000 Poets for Change we aim to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability,” he says.

Pienaar, who is the chairman of the Melville Poetry Festival which will run from 12 – 14 October, says a consensus is fast developing across the world that things cannot continue as they are, no matter what one’s ideological orientation might be. And while the call for change may be vague, this is probably fitting since part of the problem is that world leaders and experts are at a loss what to do about the world’s ills.

What poetry can do is also not clear, except that it is the art form that serves one best when you tread out into an unknown world, or one without any clear answers or signposts. In South Africa recent events have perhaps finally shown that the “New South Africa” is over, and that the rainbow nation is a myth, and that we need to relook and re-examine most aspects of our society. 

Certain themes from 100 000 Poets For Change will be carried over to the Melville Poetry Festival, where some of the events will focus on the need for resistance, while others will celebrate the fact that simply to produce good poetry is already an act of bringing change to the world.

A micro-blog to promote and celebrate the Johannesburg event is being developed on the 100 000 Poets for Change site here

100 000 Poets for Change – Johannesburg will be held at Picobella restaurant, No 66, 4th Avenue, Melville, on September 29, from 4pm to 7pm. Pienaar’s new book, as well as titles by the various poets, will be on sale.   

Monday, 10 September 2012

Saturday, 08 September 2012