Thursday, 15 November 2012

Poets Read for Pussy Riot (Dublin)

Poets in Dublin come together to mark the nine-month anniversary of Pussy Riot’s performance in a Moscow Cathedral by reading from their work and from Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, English PEN's anthology for the band.

On 21 February, members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot staged a protest in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, denouncing the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for President Vladimir Putin. Three members of the collective, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested and held in custody until August when they were each sentenced to two years in prison on charges of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’. At their appeal hearing in October, the two-year jail term of Samutsevich was suspended, but the sentences against Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were upheld. They have since been separated and transferred to notorious prison colonies, far from Moscow and their young children.

In order to raise and maintain awareness of their case, English PEN launched Poems for Pussy Riot, inviting poets from all over the world to write creative responses to the case. A collection of the contributions, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, was published as a pay-by-donation e-book on 1 October 2012 to coincide with their first appeal hearing. A print-on-demand version is now also available, with all proceeds going to the Pussy Riot Legal Fund and English PEN’s Writers at Risk Programme.

To help mark this significant anniversary, contributors to the anthology are holding events across the UK and Ireland to raise local and national awareness of Pussy Riot’s situation. The event in Dublin, supported by Irish PEN, will take place on Wednesday 21 November at The Grand Social (35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1). Start time is 6.30pm and admission is free.

Participating Poets: Kimberly Campanello, Sophie Collins, Sue Cosgrave, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Christodoulos Makris, Máighréad Medbh, Paula Meehan, Alan Jude Moore, Christine Murray, The Poetry Divas, Sam Riviere.

Hosted by Christodoulos Makris and Barbara Smith, contributors to Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot.

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