A few nights ago we found ourselves in the cosy atmosphere of the creative hub called HardRain Poetry in Levenshulme. Held at Thairish cafe the last Monday of every month, we conducted an Outside The Frame workshop profiling and celebrating rich writing from the Palestinian diaspora.
Introducing Palestinian writers such as Hannah Khalil, journalist and poet Iqbal Tamimi, spoken word poet Suheir Hammad and campaigner/performer Rafeef Ziadah to the group, garnered an amazing response from the participants.
We looked at how human stories are carried across generations and the complex relationships we have with these memories. My own Nani’s stories of the partition, I carry in my blood so when I came across these poignant narratives of displacement and resilience and longing for a right to return, I wanted to see how others would respond. A rich blend of writing emerged, many thinking of their own profound experiences that they wanted to share.
A scattering of ashes on hilltops, the grief of a daughter saying goodbye to her mother, the complexities of human connections, paintbrushes painting a script across a chest, two battleaxe grandmothers…
“I started to pray:
‘From my country’s thyme
And its hilltops’ sage
And from the fluff of its sparrows
May spring fall
To clothe my bare soul.'” – Iqbal Tamimi
Blood Stitched Time
I am the daughter
Coughing up the olive branch
The son rebuilding a nation
The father rebuilding himself
I am the mother
Stitching our stories into kefiyes
Stitched into our land
Of tears and blood
With years and love’ – Suheir Hammad
It made me contemplate what stories we would want to stitch into our garments – into the narrator’s kafiye, never to unravel? Follow us to find out what the participants came up with when I set this as a writing prompt!
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Facebook Page: Outside The Frame Arts