- Series: no edition stated
- Hardcover: 72 pages
- Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (August 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1587296063
- ISBN-13: 978-1587296062
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,300,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak 1st Edition
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"Inmates at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, used pebbles to scratch messages into the foam cups they got with their meals. When the guards weren't looking, they passed the cups from cell to cell. It was a crude but effective way of communicating.
The prisoners weren't passing along escape plans or information about future terrorist attacks. They were sending one another poems."
"The poems in this collection were written against enormous odds. The men detained in Guantanamo Bay are routinely held in solitary confinement, condemned without a fair trial, many of them tortured. Through it all, some have taken sanctuary in poetry, and through this small volume we hear voices and glimpse their innermost feelings. Their poems are a remarkable and moving testament to the power of the human spirit."
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In the push to strip these detainees of their humanity "Poems" seeks to return some of that to them. The poems are grouped by their author, along with a thumbnail sketch of who they are, where they were captured, and other details and facts about them, that certainly is done to reconstruct some degree of their identity and humanity. And that ultimately is the point of "Poems." Rather than becoming faceless nameless numbers warehoused at Guantanamo, they regain some semblance of their humanity here. Granted, some will criticize that these poems got out or complain that these detainees are somehow profiting off their terroristic acts or using "Poems" as propaganda. I can't speak to the veracity of any of that or to the artistic merit of the poetry. What I can say is that the poetry contained here showed universality with prisoners of many different places and ages, and that it helped to humanize the detainees. That said, there's little here that will affirm your faith in humanity or give you a warm fuzzy feeling.
This poetry is even more remarkable given that it is always difficult for translations to impart the power of poetry through different words in a different language.