Poems for Pussy Riot

Balaclava in support of Pussy Riot

Lucy Furlong is an MFA student writing poetry. She blogs about everything from running for trees to poetry in motion at www.lucyfurleaps.com. Today, she blogs about taking her writing out into the world, how poetry is political and her poetic fight for a cause from England to Russia.

I managed not to realise I was a writer until the day my last radio show had aired on Resonance FM, a thirteen part series I had written and presented called ‘The Shoe Show’. As I walked down Tin Pan Alley that day I knew finally that what I really wanted to do with my life was something I had been doing all along. Life has grown more mysterious and remarkable ever since.

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Next Wednesday, 21st November, I will be reading poetry at the Free Word Centre at an event organised by English Pen and S J Fowler in support of Pussy Riot. Two out of the three members of the art punk collective, who were convicted in August on charges of hooliganism, have now been sent to remote penal colonies, far from Moscow and their young children.

My involvement began in September when I saw a tweet from English Pen about their Poems for Pussy Riot project  and wondered if I could contribute something to it. I submitted a poem, Tricky Disco, and, as requested, a photograph of myself wearing a makeshift balaclava, fashioned from a pair of opaque tights and some gold glitter glue. The poem was published on the English Pen web site and later included in Catechism, the fantastic anthology of 110 poems, which Sophie Mayer, Mark Burnhope and Sarah Crewe compiled and edited. This was published on October 1, to coincide with the original appeal hearing.

I read my poem at the protest outside the Russian Embassy in London on that day, in the pouring rain, alongside several poets including Gareth Evans, Amy Evans, Katy Price, Sarah Hesketh, Tim Dooley and SJ Fowler. Some of the poems were also read out in Russian.

George Szirtes begins his introduction to Catechism by saying:

An anthology of poems dedicated to a political purpose is not so much an anthology of poems as a political act in poetic form.”

Being involved in this project has been a chance to put my poetic currency where my mouth is. I am more of a clicktivist than agitator these days so I was excited to be able to do something to show my support for Pussy Riot.  Catechism is an amazing collection of work, available to download or as a print on demand copy from the English Pen web site. All proceeds go to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English Pen’s Writers at Risk programme.

Poems for Pussy Riot takes place at The Free Word Centre in London on Wednesday 21st November at 7pm. £3 entry with all proceeds going to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English Pen’s Writers at Risk programme.

Check out videos of the poets at the embassy protest here:

Tricky Disco

Lucy Furlong

Amy Evans

Tim Dooley

S J Fowler

Sarah Hesketh

Gareth Evans

Katy Price

Protest

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. lucyfurleaps
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 18:38:51

    Reblogged this on LucyFurLeaps and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

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