Poems for Pussy Riot: Elegy in Red by Chris Emslie

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On 13 September, English PEN launched ‘Poems for Pussy Riot‘ in support of three members of the Russian punk band –  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – who are currently serving a  two year prison sentence. In the weeks leading up to their appeal hearing on 1 October, we are posting daily tributes to the band, in the form of some extraordinary poems and images. An ebook collection of the poems, CATECHISM: POEMS FOR PUSSY RIOT, edited by Mark Burnhope, Sarah Crewe and Sophie Mayer, will be published on 1 October to coincide with their appeal hearing. Several contributors to the project will also be reading their work as part of a peaceful protest outside the Russian Embassy in London, 11- 1pm, one of many protests due to take place across the globe.

The following contribution comes from Chris Emslie.

 

Elegy in Red

for Pussy Riot

There is a yellowness
that becomes a city.
 
Must we again speak
only to our shoes
 
on the metro, scratching
through wormy dark that
 
is not a metaphor
for anything. The cry
 
flushes red to the lips,
out of the shattering
 
to the irrefutable
call. Here: these are our
 
last furs, our vespers,
the stirred mid-air
 
in which songs range
under a street lamp.

 

 

 

Poems for Pussy Riot posts

Poems for Pussy Riot – an introduction to the project

Soutien-Gorge: Ira Lightman

Vagina: Sophie Mayer

Song: Ali Smith

Abridged and Complete Biography of Olympe de Gouge: Claire Trévien

Women of the Year: Betty Doyle

Weapons of Minor Destruction: Sandra Alland

Our Glorious Leader Putin: Jack Underwood

Cat Power: Amy Key

Avoid using the word “pussy”: Charlotte Geater

Poem with Four Vaginal Walls: Mark Burnhope

Sheela na gig (deconstructed): Sarah Crewe

Dance of the Seven Veils: Alison Croggon

Skylined: Gareth Evans

Vox Populi (A poem for voices): Steve Heighton

The Eye of the Needle: Aoife Mannix

Ne (No): Wayne Burrows

Vaginaland: Jen Campbell

We Jew women: Translated by Marek Kazmierski

Thirst: John Siddique

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