Detroit Poet in the War Zone: M.L. Liebler Rides the Kabul Beat # 3

May 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

Yesterday was a productive and very interesting day. I spent Sunday morning with the wonderful women writers of The Afghan Women Writers’ Project. We met in an undisclosed location in a neighborhood in Kabul as the women are all writing poetry about their life experiences anonymously. They shared some of their writing with me while we sat shoes off on comfortable pillow chairs with a table of sweets and tea. There poems were very sophisticated and developed. They all seemed in love with the writing process and the personal benefits it offered them in their daily struggles of being Afghan women in troubling times. I offered them a writing prompt which they ran with to create some of most dimensional and sensitive poetry that I have ever heard coming out of a Sunday morning workshop. Afterwards we noshed on delicious kebabs and salad. They were excitedly telling me about their recent involvement in various local protests on behalf of women’s rights in Afghanistan. These were some intelligent, brave women, and I was honored to spend three hours with them.

After that we headed to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music   in another part of town by Kabul University. I guess this would be the “Fame High School” or Glee of Kabul. These were amazing kids of all levels of English who were also music students. I had them break out their unique instruments with some traditional instruments, and I got them jamming a funky beat to set the mood. After that, I performed a one of my pieces live (“In a Window>Sinclair’s “The Screamers”), so they could follow where I wanted them to go. Then, we had a full discussion of Langston Hughes “A Dream Deferred” poem to get them use to concrete and abstract language in poetry. After that, I got them to write their own repetition style poems using a start for each line with “I Have a Dream

.” Next we got everyone up solo and as teams to perf their poems with the music rocking in the background. The class was seriously rockin, and a lot of other students gathered outside the door to see sup with the goateed bald dude rockin the poetry class. I got a little video I’ll try to put up.

Tomorrow off for more high school students to discuss William Carlos Williams short poems and get them to write a little. I will have to file a report on Monday and Tuesday-Wednesday’s activities when I return from Jalalabad in the north. We can’t take any electronic devices with us as we have to get up there by helicopter and visit the university via army tanks with armed escorts. I’ll let ya know how your homey does with all of this. We ain’t in Kansas, or Motown, anymore Dorothy.

I will leave you with a poem inspired by The Afghan Women’s Writers Project written by Brighton poet and friend Christine Rhein (who will be featured at the May version of Detroit Tonight Live at The Jazz Café at Music Hall on Thursday May 24th at 7:00pm and don’t forget to get tickets for my pal Al Kooper’s rare Jazz Café Show Thursday May 17th-I’ll host my brother back in the D.

Folks Check Out

"Sparrow’s, Poet’s Deaths" by Christine Rhein in its original format at this link below. It is a powerful poem.