Jun 27

Write Some Coded Communication Today!

There are 17 writers represented by the 22 poems in the anthology Poems from Guantanamo: The Inmates Speak (University of Iowa Press, 2007). This slender book represents only a tiny percentage of thousands of prisoner-written poems because the Pentagon wouldn't clear most of them for publication. Why? Seems "The U.S. government contends that poetry presents a 'special risk' to national security, since the form lends itself to coded communication."

From an interview about the book.

Andy Worthington: And Abdur Rahim Muslim Dost, the Afghan [prisoner] poet, wrote 25,000 lines of poetry, much of it scratched onto Styrofoam cups and passed from cell to cell?

Marc Falkoff (editor of Poems from Guantanamo): Yes.

So being able to write today using a pen or computer, even though writing is a big pain and isn't going well, I'm glad. There was one former POW who once said, "A good day is one on which the lock is on the INSIDE of the door."

Here's one of Dost's poems that made it into the anthology:

Cup Poem I

What kind of spring is this,
Where there are no flowers and
The air is filled with a miserable smell?