Iran reading this Saturday + links

This Saturday, July 11, from 2 to 5 pm, the Bowery Poetry Club will host a free event entitled “Literatures of Resistance: An Afternoon in Solidarity with the Iranian People.” Among the readers are PEN Award-winner Dalia Sofer and Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, whose writing appears in PEN America 10: Fear Itself.

The following Wednesday, as previously mentioned, PEN is co-sponsoring a forum on Iran with The New York Review of Books and the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center.

The translators’ roundtable over at The Observer Translation Project has been fairly widely noted; also worth reading there is the “Letter from Chişinău,” by Moldovan journalist Leo Butnaru, about the relationship between literature and politics -- and, more specifically, the current political situation in Moldova.

And speaking of writers and politics: Liu Xiaobo was formally arrested on June 23 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power.” PEN considers this arrest “transparently abusive” and “a deeply disappointing and anachronistic denial of Liu’s right to freedom of expression under Chinese and international law.” Liu Xiaobo is one of the authors of Charter 08, calling for democratic reform in China; you can sign a petition to free him here.

And lastly, a plea for the theremin, the musical instrument that inspired Petr Zelenka’s play, which itself is about -- among other things -- the arts under communism. Part of the play appeared in PEN America 8: Making Histories, and was read, on one occasion, by Edward Albee and Sarah Ruhl.


King Wenclas said...

A 1992 quote from George Garrett which appeared in the Rollyson-Paddock Sontag biography on page 241; originally in Garrett's hard-to-find My Silk Purse and Yours:

"Most of the writers (practically anybody you ever heard of) are involved in a close symbiotic relationship, cozy you might say, with the publishing world. Without the acquiescence and tacit support of the writers (especially the most successful ones), the whole creaky system might collapse. They can fool you, though, the writers. Take PEN, for example, forever using our dues to battle against some form of overt censorship here and there, against racial separation and segregation in South Africa if not, say, Kenya or Ghana, firmly committed against torture everywhere in the world except in certain Eastern Bloc nations, and mostly keeping their own mouths shut about the inequities and injustices, trivial and profound, perpetuated on the American public by the same folks who give writers their advances against royalties and publish their books. Whatever the price is, it doesn't include a vow of silence or even very much self-sacrifice."

I wonder about that vow of silence!

King Wenclas said...

p.s. Just so everyone knows, there's a Literature of Resistance in the U.S.

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