Diaspo / Renga
Marilyn Hacker and Deema K Shehabi
Paperback: 70 pages
Publisher: Holland Park Press (21 May 2014)
Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 21.6 cm
In 2009, prompted by the Israeli siege of Gaza, Palestinian-American poet Deema Shehabi and Jewish-American poet Marilyn Hacker started a correspondence. This conversation by Californian based Deema and predominantly Paris based Marilyn was, not surprisingly, conducted thanks to electronic communication. Much more special was the fact that it took the form of responding, directly or obliquely, to each other’s poems. They continued their poetic dialogue until 2012. The result was a sequence of renga, a fascinating poetic conversation called Diaspo/Renga. The two poetic voices are beautifully meshed together, so that it actually reads as one long poem. The poetry is very rich in imagery, and these images stay with you, as do feelings the poems generate, for example of unrest, of being in exile. Television shows you the pictures in the streets, this poetry takes you into the homes and minds of people. You can read it very much between the lines, and therefore it seems to speak to people about their own experiences. Diaspo/Renga is a dignified celebration of humanity in and among atrocities. Although triggered by events in Gaza, it cleverly weaves in other conflicts past and present.