Dear Poetry Aficionados,Poetry & Poets in Rags blog
Omani poet Hamad al-Kharusi has been sentenced to one year in prison for defaming the sultan. That is our lead story. Shouldn't we rather that a man named Qaboos bin Said al Said, the individual who is the sultan there, does time himself? What's worse, telling people what you think of a sultan, or imprisoning a poet? Imprisoning a poet, hands down.
Besides the very human logic behind the egregious behavior of Said, the world needs to note where these criminals against humankind are who have such state power to bully others around. One excellent measure of how free we are in this world, is how many poets are in prison. But also, alternatively, how many people are so arrogant with their power that they would imprison poets.
We've got many stories besides these covering many facets of poetry this week. But along the same theme, is our back page story, the one about war crimes, a witness who can now, is telling about the murder of a poet in 1971. The poet Meherun Nesa was killed with her family. She was one of the intellectuals who was tortured, killed and disposed of.
Poets set themselves in with advocacy groups, and are also considered intellectuals. Both groups are threats to states that are tyrannical. Poets are like canaries. If they are dying like Meherun Nesa, as well as being imprisoned like Hamad al-Kharusi, the toxic fumes of tyranny threaten the rest of us.
Congratulations! to the winners of April's IBPC contest, and Thanks! to springtime judge Shara McCallum
, whose excellent commentary you will find below each poem:
1st place: Drought
by Sue Kay of PenShells
2nd place (tie): The Roofer Stays Up
by Jim Zola of The Waters Poetry Workshop
2nd place (tie): Yard Work
by Dale McLain of Wild Poetry Forum
3rd place: How is Florida treating you? Best, Jim
by Susan Katz of conjunction
Honorable mention: First Kiss at Fifty
by John Wilks of The Write Idea
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