Poems for Pussy Riot: Some Protest Stones by Sarah Hesketh

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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 poet Sarah Hesketh.

 

Some Protest Stones

 

1

Tell everyone.

 

From today we sing only

the hard words.

Metal tongues

snug in our mouths.

White fire soloists.

 

2

We speak because we want to be spoken to.

Do you have something to say?

 

                3

Our whispers can scar the air.

 

                                4

We favour the louder nouns:

Neon

[                              ]

[                              ]

     Blitzkrieg

 

5

Remember the rough coated wolf?

The right breath

can bring down houses.

 

6

Look at our voices.

See how we’ve learnt

to costume them like sluts

 

 

7

Don’t try and refine us.

We enjoy the tough accents of our cunts.

 

 

8

You’re right, of course,

we’re always gagging for it.

Our beautiful throats thrust

upward in song.

        

 

 

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

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