Edited by Kamal Boullata and Kathy Engel
“No 'we' should be taken for granted when the subject is looking at other people's pain.” —Susan Sontag
We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon contains poems written in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon together with new ones rising from the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.
Following a great tradition of poetry throughout history, this book shows the vast conscience and lyrical spirit of resistance on the part of poets in support of the dignity, rights, and humanity of the Palestinian and Lebanese people.
We Begin Here is an affirmation of the human and poetic spirit, reminding us that poetry and struggle always "begin here," always leading us back to ourselves, to each other, in community, seeking truth and beauty across all borders.
Contributors include: Elmaz Abinader • Yasmin Adib • Etel Adnan • Saladin Ahmed • Ammiel Alcalay • Seema Atalla • Robert Bagg • John Balaban • Amiri Baraka • John Berger • Barbara Berman • Kamal Boullata • Sarah Browning • Dennis Brutus • Raja-e Busailah • Grace Cavalieri • Hayan Charara • Jane Creighton • Alexis De Veaux • Ariel Dorfman • Gabrielle S. Edgcomb • Kathy Engel • Martín Espada • Lawrence Ferlinghetti • Wade Fletcher • Margaret Gibson • Sam Hamill • Suheir Hammad • Sam Hamod • Nathalie Handal • Joy Harjo • Samuel Hazo • Jack Hirschman • Rashidah Ismaili • Gale P. Jackson • June Jordan • Melanie Kaye Kantrowitz • Naomi Lazard • Dennis Lee • Denise Levertov • Kathryn Levy • Chris Llewellyn • Lisa Majaj • Khaled Mattawa • Pablo Medina • D.H. Melhem • W.S. Merwin • Sara Miles • E. Ethelbert Miller • Tracie Morris • Naomi Shihab Nye • Gregory Orfalea • Frank Reeve • Adrienne Rich • Sonia Sanchez • Richard Schaaf • James Scully • Susan Sherman • Becky Thompson • Andy Young
Kamal Boullata is a visual artist, writer and editor living in France. Poetry books he edited include Women of the Fertile Crescent: An Anthology of Modern Poetry by Arab Women and Stranger in a Distant City: Poems by Mahmud Darwish. He also co-edited with Mirene Ghossein The World of Rashid Hussein: A Palestinian Poet in Exile and If Only the Sea Could Sleep: Love Poems by Adonis. He is the author of Faithful Witnesses: Palestinian Children Recreate their World and Recovery of Place: A Study of Contemporary Palestinian Art (in Arabic).
Kathy Engel is a poet, teacher, producer and consultant for social justice and peace organizations. Her first book of poems Banish the Tentative, was published in 1989. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications. She is the founder of MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, the former President and co-founder of Riptide Communications, co-founder of East End Women in Black and KickAss Artists. Her new book of poems and personal prose, Ruth's Skirts is forthcoming from IKON. She traveled to Palestine in 1990.