Poems for Pussy Riot: Strange by Karen Press

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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 the 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 next contribution comes from Canadian poet Karen Press.

 

Strange

 
Strangers ate my cunt,
asking a thousand questions as to its use,
the material of which it was made.
 
I screamed.
How eagerly, how intently their heads bent down,
eyes fixed upon the strange lips.
 
I had in my possession
a word.
 
A hideous image: one man, lewd hands,
his face covered with feathers, his serpentine form.
 
My word.
 
A rough demand.
 
I told them it was a weapon,
a fierce death.
 
Passed from one to the other.
God—God—
 
and again.

 

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

Please welcome to the stage: Alex MacDonald

Because The Poets Know: Tony Walsh

Pussy Riot Rap: Ana Pulteney

Fine Line: Red of the Vaginellas

The Blackbird: Adam Horowitz

The Queendom of Revolution: Sally McAlister

Russian Songs: Sascha Aurora Akhtar

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