2005 Writers Forum
|Susan Rich is the author of The Cartographer's Tongue: Poems of the World, winner of the PEN West Award for Poetry and the Peace Corps Writers Award. Her poetry oftentimes reflects her experiences working with Amnesty International, the U.S. Peace Corps, as well as human rights work in Bosnia and Palestine. Susan's poetry has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, North American Review, Poetry International, Prism International and Witness. Recent awards include a Fulbright Fellowship to South Africa, an Artist Trust Fellowship from Washington State, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Susan lives in Seattle, is an editor for Floating Bridge Press, and teaches at Highline Community College. Her second collection of poems, Cures Include Travel, is due out from White Pine Press. Please visit Susan at www.susanrich.org to find out more.|
|Read and listen to excerpts from a discussion between Susan Rich and 2005 curator John Mifsud.||
|We Talk of What Youll Do When You Return
Invite in the warlords, text-message the deadly
youth of Mogadishu
tell the women hand-washing linen
Koranic students chanting
under the commiphora tree
to cancel all negotiation
abandon gifts from Global Relief.
In the dream of return
coaching family rhythms
into leagues of athletic rivalry
youll pump-up each clan, and sub-clan
to compete! compete! compete!
Not over wells to poison
nor uncles, cousins, children
dead in the fields
dead along open-sewered streets.
Instead youll imagine a world
a ribbon of Olympic torchlight
re-lighting Somali legend
with no angst or anxiety.
In the counting of the names
which tribe will claim the most
doctors, teachers, road builders;
which family the Nobel Laureate,
the poster child Ph.D?
In Kismayo, the young girl fills test tubes
invests in her own depths of discovery.
The young boy draws his life
from the sweet liquid of drainpipes
your landscape, each acre
breathing along an open coastal sea.
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