Poems for Pussy Riot: Please Welcome to the Stage by Alex Macdonald

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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 Alex MacDonald, poet and editor of Selected Poems.

 

Please welcome to the stage

 

Okay guys I hope you’re ready to show support

They have come from a place

Where the tall churches dapple sunlight

And are not owned by the shades of gold leaf halos,

But by shadier folk, where the narrow way

Leads to light, and any other way is like

A cartoon corridor, the same portraits

And windows repeating, you wonder

Whether they’ll ever escape,

Where brown bears eat cats in dark alleyways

And audience you look beautiful tonight

Your hands clapping in the black and white

Of the strobe light looks like prayer so go crazy,

Here they are, ladies, please put your hands together,

And keep them where we can see them.

 

Alex MacDonald and Mingus

 

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

Elegy in Red: Chris Emslie

Theatre: Fathieh Saudi

Three Sisters: Tim Dooley

Some Protest Stones: Sarah Hesketh

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