A Poet in Exile Returns to Palestine

A Poet in Exile Returns to Palestine

To help NYC-based poet Farid Bitar attend the Jerusalem & Ramallah launches of the anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry.

We did it!

On 26th Jun 2018 we successfully raised £188 with 6 supporters in 63 days

In November 2017, thanks to the generosity of Crowdfunder donors, Smokestack Books published the critically acclaimed bilingual anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry. The anthology was launched to a standing-room only crowd at London's P21 Gallery, and has since been praised in Poetry Review, London Grip and Write Out Loud. Now it's time to take the poems home - to Palestine. This summer the book will be launched at the Al Ma'mal Foundation in Jerusalem on July 27th, and at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah on July 28th. The events will feature locally-based contributors Maya Abu Alhayyat and Marwan Makhoul, Jerusalemite-Londoner Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Brighton-based editor Naomi Foyle, and - hopefully - Dareen Tatour, who is currently under house arrest and awaiting a verdict in Israel for charges related to her poetry, and New York City-based Farid Bitar, who is seeking help with his airfare.

Farid S. Bitar is a Palestinian-American poet, born in Jerusalem 1961. The editor of the anthology Treasury of Arabic Love (1997), his own collections include Footprints in the Mist - A Palestinian Soul and two spoken word CDs, FATOOSH and SHUTAT. Fuzzy Lines - 67/48, a collection of 48 poems and 67 paintings, is forthcoming in 2018.  Farid and his family were driven from their home in Jericho in 1967, when he was six years old. He has been living in exile in America ever since, with very few chances to visit his homeland. The last time he visited was over a decade ago. Farid travelled to the London launch of the anthology at his own expense, bringing with him a pop-up gallery of his delicate calligraphy drawings, and later organised his own launch of the book in New York City, featuring jazz musicians, and local poets reading works from the book. He has been deeply involved in celebrating the anthology, and it would be wonderful for him to join the festivities in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Farid can stay with his sister, and is just seeking help with the airfare. This spring, when Palestinians are being brutally punished for joining the Great March of Return, he would be grateful for your support to make his own dream of return a brief reality this summer.  

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FARID SAYS: 

It has been a long many years in exile, Jerusalem born, just want to go home to my city, to visit my resisting nation under occupation- under siege in Gaza.


Born in a land

That knows no peace

And always weeps

My childhood boy

Running in the sand

Above the clouds

Where the bombs explode


I want to visit Jericho, lowest point on earth,  to say hello to the balcony l left in 67. To sip mint tea, and smell the rain evaporating in the summer heat.

I want to visit Mahmoud Darwish's resting place and his village Al-Berwaha if it's still standing.

I want to visit Dareen Tatour in her jail cell inside of the green line. To tell her, her words are powerful and l am with you in the struggle. 

I want to pray at the Dome of the Rock, like l used to. 

I want to march to my father's house in Qatamoun-West Jerusalem and knock on that door he left in 1948.

A Blade of Grass is my transport, to read to my nation about love-country-and yearning.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you for any help you can offer.  A return ticket NYC- Jordan (from where Farid can then travel by land to Palestine) is currently (April 19th) $650 of which Farid will contribute $150. Farid is also donating his artwork and CDs.  We are therefore seeking to raise $500/£360 for his flight; plus $200/£140 to cover venue rental for the launch in Ramallah;  £50 to cover the Crowdfunder fees (8%); and £50 postage for the rewards. 

 - Naomi Foyle 

Read full story

Got an idea like this?

Start your Crowdfunder