A radical, international book club challenging understandings of the status quo & mobilizing communities globally. 📚✊🏿

#COVID19 International Poetry Swap, March-April 2020!

#COVID19 International Poetry Swap, March-April 2020!

In light of the global Coronavirus pandemic, #BecauseWeveRead is excited to announce our unit on poetry–curated by yourself!

At #BecauseWeveRead, we’re no strangers to digital organizing, thinking critically and curiously, building global solidarity and mutual aid, or using the internet as a way to facilitate resource sharing and radical conversation. And at the current moment, these sorts of conversations, relationship-buliding, and creative thinking seems most urgently needed while our governments continue to fail us. If anything, this global pandemic has made desperately clear that all of these institutions that make up our nation and have been erected in the name of “national security” or to “serve and protect” are nowhere to be found when real threats to our collective safety and security are at stake. The reason the United States for example, is on the verge of collapsing internally is because this nation was not setup to care for its people, but to protect the wealthy — and it’s doing a great job of doing so, given it seems so many of the incredibly limited Coronavirus testing kits have been used to test asymptomatic celebrities. (But it’s fine, because in exchange they are giving us words of solace!!!!!).

 

So, we will build our own strength through global community-building and tend to our souls with prayer/reflection, community organizing, and poetry.

 

We’re excited to announce our first-ever #BecauseWeveRead Global Poetry Swap — what is better in this moment than to make a new friend that you cannot meet? Along with acting as a responsible social-distancing practice, a reminder that poetry and art is NOT a privilege but a necessary part of human existence, and method to ground ourselves and heal in a time of global distress, this global poetry swap is an opportunity to take the time to build intentional and international relationships with like-minded people. It’s the best time, if any, to realize how truly connected all of our fates are globally than through a deadly, wildly infectious virus that has spread globally! So let’s use this moment 🙂

 

To join, simply fill out the form below and within 48 hours after the final deadline (see dates below), you will be e-introduced to your new, randomly selected (no, not like at the airports!) poetry partner who shares your language and age range. You have two weeks to send each other poetry, talk, learn, grow, build, and decide whether or not you’d like to continue to stay in touch. Whether or not you decide to keep in touch with your first paired partner, you can sign up for another round! 

 

Round 1 pairing deadline: fill out the form below by 11:59pm CST March 29th, 2020

Round 2 pairing deadline: fill out the form (yes, again, sorry!) below between April 1st, 2020 and 11:59pm CST April 14th, 2020 

 

We of course always encourage you to share the poetry you either sent or received, along with your thoughts, on social media with the hashtag #BecauseWeveRead to be part of the larger, global conversation!

 

(Please note: #BecauseWeveRead takes no responsibility for who you are randomly paired with, or the outcomes of said pairing. Be smart! Don’t share passwords or sensitive information about yourself! Though if ya’ll end up getting married we’d appreciate an invite to the wedding.)

So I guess this is like our version of Love is Blind…but digitally….and with poetry…and not boring. (sorry)

 

While you wait to be paired up, you can start thinking about what poem(s) you want to share, or scroll down to see some of our local chapter leads’ favorite poems!

 

(if you’re on mobile and having trouble filling out the form, tap this for a mobile-friendly version of the form!)

For questions please email us at bwr@joojooazad.com and we’ll try to get back to you within 72 hours! 

 

 

#BecauseWeveRead will never share or sell your information to any third parties.

Additional resources

A curated selection of some of our chapter leads’ favorite poems from around the world, below (in no particular order) —

 

+ Detroit #BecauseWeveRead chapter lead Michael could not pick “one” poem so he put together an entire website of some of his favorites (honestly some of you lot are so extra)

+ “Drone”, Solmaz Sharif

+ “Your Mother’s First Kiss”, Warsan Shire

+ “A Map of Migration Routes”, Philip Metres

+ “The Palace”, Kaveh Akbar

+ “Affirmation”, Assata Shakur

+ “If They Should Come for Us” and “Partition”, Fatimah Asghar

+ “She Died Making Pancakes” and “On a Pair of Young Men in the Underground Parking Garage at fX Sudirman Mall”, Norman Erikson Pasaribu

+ “Life’s Essence” and “Settling the Somali Language” (both in original text & translated to English), Maxamed Ibraahin Warsame ‘Hadraawi’

+ Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (excerpt, translated), Aime Césaire

+ Migritude, (we couldn’t find any excerpts online so here are three other poems by this poet!) Shailja Patel

+ “Enemy of the Sun”, Samih Al-Qasim

+ “Alien Suite”, Safia Elhillo

+ “A Letter to Two Children on the East Bank” (unavailable online), Fadwa Tuqan

“I am with Terrorism” (in original text & translated to English), Nizar Qabbani

+ “A Few Thousand Hopes of the Children of Adam” (in original text & translated to English) and “Moan of the Mirror” (unavailable online), H.E. Sayeh

+ “This is not a Humanising Poem” and Postcolonial Banter, Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan

+ “I Want To Pierce With The Arrows Of My Voice”, Shamim Azad

+ “Eve”, Assetou Xango

+ “Layleen’s Bill (With Revisions)”, Benji Hart

+ “What I Will” and “break (clustered)”, Suheir Hammad

 

P.S. Our friends at Haymarket & Verso Books are both giving away free “quarantine book” so be sure to take advantage of these while you can!

Chapters

Chapter List:
All Chapters:
Detroit, USA
Vienna, Austria
Seattle, USA
Vancouver, Canada
London, Canada
Montreal, Canada
London, United Kingdom
Karachi, Pakistan / کراچی
Tehran, Iran / تهران
Mumbai, India / मुंबई
Dubai, United Arab Emirates / دبي
Lahore, Pakistan / لاہور
Barcelona, Spain
Auckland, New Zealand
New York City, USA
Nairobi, Kenya
Jakarta, Indonesia
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Mauritius
Denver, USA
Melbourne, Australia
Doha, Qatar / الدوحة
Toronto, Canada
Detroit, USA
×
  • Hosts: Michael and Samantha
Vienna, Austria
×
  • Hosts: Victoria & Natasha
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.vienna@gmail.com

Seattle, USA
×
  • Hosts: Alia & Imaan
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.seattle@gmail.com

Vancouver, Canada
×
  • Hosts: Julia & Dyalla
  • Local Bookstore Partner: Estelita’s library
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.vancouver@gmail.com

London, Canada
×
  • Host: Asiya
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.londonon@gmail.com

Montreal, Canada
×
  • Hosts: Mona & Celia
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.montreal@gmail.com

London, United Kingdom
×
  • Hosts: Maryam & Alliyah
  • Contact Info:

    london.bwr@gmail.com

Karachi, Pakistan / کراچی
×
  • Hosts: Sheema & Amal
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.karachi@gmail.com

Tehran, Iran / تهران
×
  • Host: Farid
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.tehran@gmail.com

Mumbai, India / मुंबई
×
  • Host: Smriti
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.mumbai@gmail.com

Dubai, United Arab Emirates / دبي
×
  • Hosts: Reem & Noha
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.dubai@gmail.com

Lahore, Pakistan / لاہور
×
  • Host: Madiha
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.lahore@gmail.com

Barcelona, Spain
×
  • Host: Diana
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.barcelona@gmail.com

Auckland, New Zealand
×
  • Host: Zainab
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.auckland@gmail.com

New York City, USA
×
  • Host: Anisa
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.brooklyn@gmail.com

Nairobi, Kenya
×
  • Host: Suhayl
  • Contact Info:

    nairobi.bwr@gmail.com

Jakarta, Indonesia
×
  • Hosts: Sahnaz, Intan & Shaffira
  • Contact Info:

    jakarta.bwr@gmail.com

Birmingham, United Kingdom
×
  • Hosts: Milga & Georgia
  • Contact Info:

    birmingham.bwr@gmail.com

Mauritius
×
  • Hosts: Sana & Grace
  • Contact Info:

    saalimohamed17@gmail.com

Denver, USA
×
  • Hosts: Amena, Satvinder, & Mona
  • Contact Info:

    bwr.denver@gmail.com

Melbourne, Australia
×
  • Host: Jasmine
  • Contact Info:

    melbourne.bwr@gmail.com

Doha, Qatar / الدوحة
×
  • Hosts: Mariana & Moza
  • Contact Info:

    bwrdoha@gmail.com

Toronto, Canada
×
  • Hosts: Haider & Frishta
#BecauseWeveRead Local Chapters

We have dozens of locally-organized and autonomously-run #BecauseWeveRead chapters led by brilliant activists, artists, students, human rights lawyers, teachers, mothers, musicians, and other like-minded people around the world! Each chapter is responsible for creatively engaging their greater communities and building grassroots movements around literacy, accessibility of reading, and the topics covered in the readings.

Local chapters are important to bring people together and build local community centered on radical reading, and using our virtual programming as an entry point for broader, intersectional community organizing.

Joining a Chapter

Found your city above? Shoot your host(s) an email introducing yourself and they’ll get back to you with more information on upcoming events, discussion groups, and other efforts they’re working on you can get plugged into!

Start Your Own Chapter

Don’t see your city listed above and want to bring #BecauseWeveRead to your city? Shoot us an email at bwr@joojooazad.com to start the conversation and learn more! We’re always looking for new and creative people to join our team and help us build our global community!

Community Discussions
Emergency Read on Kashmir

In light of the ongoing and accelerating Indian military occupation of Kashmir, lack of media attention, and urgent calls for international solidarity, #BecauseWeveRead is honored to be partnering with Stand With Kashmir to host this ‘Emergency Read’ on Kashmir. Join the brilliant Sanjay Kak (filmmaker & writer), Hafsa Kanjwal (professor & writer), & Mohamad Junaid (professor & writer) in a conversation describing & contextualizing what is happening on the ground in Kashmir, right now.

Arundhati Roy on Empire & Power

Referred to in the New York Times as “India’s most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence,” Arundhati Roy stands as one of the most influential writers in the world today. Her writing includes the award-winning The God of Small Things, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, Capitalism: A Ghost Story, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, among other fiction and non-fiction work. But beyond her writing, her work also extends into the streets: Roy is an outspoken activist, frequently working on and discussing issues related to India’s illegal military occupation of Kashmir, anti-Zionism, political repression, caste and class, and a myriad of environmental and human rights issues — many of which are discussed in our February/March 2019 read, The End of Imagination. We love a principled, badass woman.

Nisrin Elamin on #Sudan and Africa Uprisings

In light of ongoing massive protests in Sudan, their lack of coverage in mainstream media outlets, and the dire need to contextualize these protest within Sudan’s own particular political and historical contexts (which many non-Sudanese and non-African people seem to lack knowledge of), we’re calling for a #BecauseWeveRead ‘Emergency Read’ for the month of January to help us better understand what is happening in Sudan right now, and how we can support. We’re joined today with Nisrin Elamin, a Sudanese PhD student in Anthropology at Stanford University. Her doctoral research focuses broadly on the phenomenon of “foreign land grabs” in post-secession Sudan. It seeks to understand how the differential impact of state-driven land dispossession is being negotiated and contested in several communities in the agricultural Gezira region.

Naomi Klein Discusses The Shock Doctine
Naomi Klein, the brilliant scholar, author, and most recently the Inaugural Gloria Steinem Chair for Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University, is joining us at #BecauseWeveRead to discuss her book, The Shock Doctrine, and its continued relevance on a global scale.
#BecauseWeveRead: How it Works
Goals
Process
Global Chapters
Emergency Reads

To raise our collective awareness and understanding of global politics, race, capitalism, gender, religion, culture, history, colonialism, socioeconomic disparity etc, in ways that disrupt normative narratives

To uplift and celebrate stories of those whose identities are marginalized and whose voices are systematically silenced globally, as their stories are powerful models of effective resistance against power, and their lived experiences challenge state narratives.

To build & mobilize transnational communities, conversations, and movements united in shared struggle while simultaneously making radical literature more accessible to the communities that need them the most.

Every two months a new unit will be announced here on our website, in our newsletter, and on social media. Each unit has a central book that will always be made available as a free e-book, and is accompanied by additional multimedia resources such as essays, films, databases, poetry, photoessays, and other materials that complement the unit.

Think of each unit as a mini syllabus on a particular topic.

Throughout each 2-month long unit, all of our members (i.e. anyone who is reading with us around the world at any particular time) are encouraged to post their thoughts, reflections, favorite quotes, or other commentary related to the readings or unit on social media using the hashtag #BecauseWeveRead to be part of a global conversation.

Each unit also includes a Youtube Live discussion hosted by Hoda Katebi and a different esteemed guest. Past guests have included Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, and others. The Youtube Live discussions are open to the public and viewers are encouraged to ask questions and engage in the conversation with the host, guest, and each other.

You can find previous live discussions, many of which have also been adapted into podcast episodes, linked in each book post in our digital library, or on the “Community Discussions” page.

#BecauseWeveRead is unique for many reasons, but we’re most excited about our growing list of local chapters globally!

Smaller, more intimate conversations on a local level are an incredibly helpful tool to better understand and engage with texts while simultaneously learning from and building community.

Our global chapters are largely autonomously run by local leaders (most of whom are women and non-binary people of color!) who we train and support as needed. Each chapter hosts an open, local community discussion for each unit, and often hosts other events and projects related to the unit.

Our chapters have organized everything from sold-out panels and poetry slams on Islamophobia & Anti-Blackness to letter-writing events and book drives for people currently incarcerated to week-long event series at their local university supporting the struggles of Kashmiris under Indian occupation!

Get involved & find the closest chapter to you on our “Chapters” page!

Can’t find a chapter in your city? Get in touch with us if you’re interested in launching a new chapter and bringing #BecauseWeveRead to your community!

#BecauseWeveRead actively adapts and responds to major global crisis as they develop. To do so, we occasionally will call for one-month ‘Emergency Readings’ on a particular crisis that needs urgent attention.

Typically, we focus on situations that: a) lack global attention b) are deeply misunderstood/the general global public lacks major context c) are immediate and actively-unfolding situations in which people on the ground are asking for global solidarity in ways that #BecauseWeveRead and our chapters and members can clearly respond to

Unfortunately, there are countless important issues and causes globally that deserve to be uplifted. We are often inundated with requests to launch an ‘Emergency Read’ in respond to various ongoing local & global crises and unfortunately cannot focus on them all.

We want to name that several factors go into announcing an ‘Emergency Read’, and even if an official announcement is not made, often times many of our chapters will still focus on these issues on a local level.

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