I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poets in Defense of Human Rights arrived on my doorstep this week. Although the title doesn't hit the required happy notes of the holiday season, this anthology, published by Lost Horse Press, is the perfect gift for International Human Rights Day, December 10th.
The editors, Melissa Kwansny and M.L. Smoker give a very sobering introduction to the book, but my take on it is somewhat different. I worked for Amnesty International for five years and it's the resilience of the human spirit that I find most compelling in this collection. My favorite poems here include Carolyn Forche's "Museum of Stone," Li-Young Lee's "Self-Help for Fellow Refugees" and Ilya Kaminsky's "We Lived Happily During the War." And in the interest of full disclosure, my poem "Mohamud at the Mosque" is also reprinted here.