The past few weeks have seen amazing goings on in Belarus. In the wake a clearly rigged election, people took to the streets - and when demonstrators and bystanders alike were detained, beaten and tortured, it prompted a fresh wave of protests, bringing hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets, in the first serious challenge to president Lukashenko’s dictatorship since he came to power 26 years ago. But the detentions and human rights violations continue.
We are honoured to host an international poetry reading, curated by the poet & translator Annie Rutherford, where writers have come together in solidarity with Belarus, to raise awareness, and hopefully some funds.
The line up includes Volha Hapeyeva, Valzhyna Mort, Kinga Toth, Shehzar Doja, Sasha Dugdale, Vahni Capildeo, Polly Atkin, Nora Gomringer and Marjorie Lotfi Gill.
This short digital poetry event, will go live at 7pm on 1 September and will be available to watch for a week. This event aims to raise money for Belarus 97, who support victims of repression with legal costs, medical treatment and other costs. https://www.belarus97.pro/eng
Please watch it here (captioning is available on the video):
The poets who have joined us to #StandWithBelarus are:
Valzhyna Mort /Вальжына Морт/ is a poet and translator born in Minsk, Belarus. She is the author of three poetry collections, Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press 2008), Collected Body (Copper Canyon Press 2011) and, mostly recently, Music for the Dead and Resurrected (FSG, 2020).
Vahni Capildeo was born in Port of Spain and lives in Edinburgh. Each of their seven books and several pamphlets explores a new poetic approach. Their most recent collection, Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020), touches on the Odyssey, the Windrush, Buile Suibhne, and coffee.
Polly Atkin is a poet and academic based in Cumbria. She has published one full poetry collection, Basic Nest Architecture (Seren, 2017), and three pamphlets, most recently With Invisible Rain (New Walk Press, 2018), which draws on Dorothy Wordsworth’s late journals in articulating pain.
Shehzar Doja was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is founder/editor-in-chief of the literary journal The Luxembourg Review. His first book, Drift, appeared in in 2016. Shehzar also co- edited the first anthology of Rohingya poets in English with fellow poet/editor James Byrne.
Marjorie Lotfi Gill is a poet and workshop facilitator. She founded The Belonging Project and co-founded the charity Open Book. Her most recent pamphlet, Refuge, appeared with Tapsalteerie Press and includes poems reflecting on her experiences in Iran in the 1970s.
Kinga Tóth is a Hungarian writer and visual and a sound-poet, as well as a performer, teacher and translator. She writes in Hungarian, German and English. In English, her collection We Build a City is available from Knives Forks and Spoons Press, with English translations by Sven Engelke.
Sasha Dugdale is a poet and playwright, as well as a translator from Russian and Ukrainian. Her latest collection, Deformations, recently appeared with Carcanet Press. Between 2012 and 2017 she was editor of Modern Poetry in Translation.
Nora Gomringer, from Germany and Switzerland, is a poet and performer, and runs the Villa Condordia artists’ residency house in Bamberg. In English, her collection Hydra’s Heads is available from Burning Eye Books, translated by Annie Rutherford.
Volha Hapeyeva /Вольга Гапеева/ is a Belarusian poet, translator and linguist with nine books to her name. She has held residency scholarships in Austria, Latvia, Germany and Switzerland. A dual-language pamphlet with English-translations by Annie Rutherford is forthcoming from Arc Publications in 2021.
Donate to Belarus 97: www.belarus97.pro/eng