‘Poetry – with its ancient history, its musicality, and its attention to symbol and metaphor – runs through all of us. Rooted in oral tradition, poetry is deeply connected to our collective humanity. And poetry is also a resilient and long-lasting political tool that has been used worldwide by dissident voices calling out for change. At PEN it’s impossible for us to celebrate World Poetry Day without also recognising that there are those for whom speaking out in verse has resulted in imprisonment. This year we are highlighting the cases of three such poets: Amanuel Asrat, Dareen Tatour, and Liu Xia. We urge you to take action today and to join us in appealing for justice for each of them. Details of how to speak out can be found below.
This World Poetry Day, PEN International is also honoured to share our Conversation with Enoh Meyomesse. Just two years ago Enoh Meyomesse was one of the poets for whom – on World Poetry Day – we urged you to take action. Now he has been released and lives in Germany where he continues to write poetry, full of characteristic refrains and inspired by his political surroundings. It brings us great joy to share with you his reflections on creativity, imprisonment, and the power of poetry.’
President, PEN International