Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,
When I began this project 5 months ago, I never imagined how it would take over my life…
My husband had been called upon to offer his expertise to Plan International in Niger, where they were setting up refugee camps to cope with those pouring across the Malian border in hopes of escaping the civil war. Niger could ill afford these exiles, as it was already starving.
I have written several blogs on-the-plum-tree about the situation in Niger and about Doug’s time there, so no need to repeat, as those of you who are interested in the details can read them in my archives.
Song Of Sahel developed because my Plum Tree group of poets responded to hearing about Doug’s activities in Sahel. Wayne Tolbert was the first of the poets to respond by posting a poem of great feeling and beauty in the group. I decided to send out the call across my social networks for poets, musicians, artists and photographers to submit a piece of work encapsulating the feelings of artists. After all! It is the job of the artist to tell it like it is and to speak for the collective soul. Through poetry, soul is exalted, the essence of a thing captured, the extraneous pared away; until all that remains is the polished gem. I urged us to write our poems, express our talent. After all, it is the best we have to give. Poetry is not a luxury but a necessity. It tempers civilizations and keeps them sane.
Plum Tree Books is project orientated. I love projects; they involve collectives and are participatory. Poets had become used to me asking them to submit poetry by way of supporting a cause. The theme for Song Of Sahel was ‘those who have; those who have not.’
I had been in a British supermarket that day, listening to people complaining about the rain. The English are always complaining about the weather! They won’t mind my saying that. It is a local joke! My shopping moment reminded me of those times, when returning back to the UK after a stay in Africa, I was suddenly confronted, once again, by the reality of an English supermarket, by the choice, extravagance and mind-boggling plenty. I couldn’t help but compare our seeming excesses to where I had just been. That particular day in May, worried about the safety of my husband being in Niger and aware of the reality there, the supermarket scene seemed, once again, incongruous, considering that there are those who die for lack of rain. What would they give for a trip to one of our local supermarkets?
I had worked in East Africa back in the nineties, during the war-torn years, when I was fortunate enough to do some contracts for Oxfam and UNICEF in my capacity as a psychotherapist. My African experience has always stayed with me; that fascinating and challenging continent holds such a special place in my heart, not least, for the great souls I met there, those humanitarian practitioners engaged in every level of rehabilitation and development.
Song Of Sahel was born. Plum tree Books, (me and my facebook friends who help me promote our projects across our social networks), committed to doing another anthology. I wanted it to be a new kind of poetry experience for kindle, as it would contain pictures and links to music. (I will tell you about the music in another post). (P.s. I could not have managed the technical side of this with you, Claudio)!
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those of you who have submitted your poems to serve this cause. In the course of the next few weeks, I will be featuring some of you on these pages.
Here is the roll-call!
Meet the Authors
Sue Lobo, Spain: https://www.facebook.com/sue.lobo.5
Tonia Marie Harris, Midwest, USA: http://passionfind.wordpress.com
DiAnne Ebejer, Florida, USA: https://sites.google.com/site/diannesscribblespoetry/
Claudio Fiore, London, UK: http://www.claudiofiore.co.uk/
Gloria D. Gonsalves, Germany: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gloria-D-Gonsalves/243274943022
Shirani Rajapakse, Sri Lanka: http://shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com/
Irene Gowins-Sowells, New York, USA: https://www.facebook.com/gowinssowells
Beverley Hoyles, Newfoundland, Canada:www.feetfirst-book.com
Susie Bertie, USA: http://sooziebird.blogspot.com/
James W Roberts, Australia: https://www.facebook.com/jameswfroberts21
Cher Duncombe, Pennsylvania, USA: https://www.facebook.com/cher.duncombe
Jacinta Camacho Kaplan, USA: https://www.facebook.com/jacinta.kaplan
Yasmine Barry, Ireland.
Wayne Tolbert, Surprise, USA: http://kephale06.wordpress.com/
Andrew Scott, Canada: http://twitter.com/JustMaritimeBoy
Jennifer Kiley, USA: http://thesecretkeeper.net/
Harriet Grace, UK: https://www.facebook.com/harriet.grace.50
Dr A. V. Koshy, Saudi Arabia: http://ppsekoshyav.blogspot.co.uk/
De Ann Townes, Arizona, USA: http://deannnative.posterous.com/
Amy Barry, Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/amy.barry.906
Susma Sharma Gurumayum, India: https://www.facebook.com/susma.gurumayum
Melinda Schoch, Australia: https://www.facebook.com/Mel.Schoch
Douglas St., Ours, Maryland, USA: http://www.facebook.com/l.stours.3
Dani Heart, California, USA: https://www.facebook.com/dani.heart.75
Maeve Henegan, Ireland: https://www.facebook.com/maeve.heneghan.7
Chrissie Morris Brady, UK: https://www.facebook.com/chrissie.brady
Helga Raesfeldt-Mings, Ireland.
Marta Pelrine-Bacon, USA: http://thefairytaleasylum.wordpress.com/
Catherine Farrer, UK.
Giorgio Mostarda, Italy: https://www.facebook.com/giorgio.mostarda
Elizabeth Castillo, Antipolo, Rizal: http://snowy-lookingforyourhalf-orange.blogspot.com/
Tony Mutton, Australia: http://darkarsean.wordpress.com/
Erik (Aged 10), USA: http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/
Margaret Phelan, Ireland.
Niamh Clune, UK: http://www.plumtreebooks.co
Douglas Johnson, UK: https://www.facebook.com/douglasjohnson2012
Larry Turner, USA: http://www.larryturnerphotography.com/
SOS Sahel, UK: http://www.sahel.org.uk/
Eric Lafforgue, France: http://www.ericlafforgue.com/
Janet Young Beasley, Florida: http://jlbcreatives.blogspot.co.uk/p/hidden-earth.html
Essam Emnay, UK: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45378245@No3/
Maria Antonietta Terrana, Sicily: https://www.facebook.com/mariaantonietta.terrana
Sally Rowland, Canada: http://morefunthanwatchingpaintdry.blogspot.ca/
Yasmine Barry, Aged 12: Ireland
Cher Duncombe, USA: https://www.facebook.com/cher.duncombe
Marta Pelrine-Bacon, USA: http://www.facebook.com/gowinssowells
Xavier Lobo, South Africa: xavier.lobo @hotmail.com
Christina Beller, Illinois, USA: http://asunder.deviantart.com/
Josie, Aged 8: USA
Tahira Lubrano, Netherlands: http://tjlubrano.blogspot.com/
Congratulations on a work that makes art meaningful onthe plum tree truly meangful
Niamh simply amazing…wow what a roll-call…humbling indeed!
It is, Beverley…A lot of people to bring together.
You told the story well except it isn’t a fiction but a reality. Doug, while in Africa helping the people in Niger, was in danger. As we witnessed yestereday’s news on 9/11, Al Qaeda killed the US Ambassador. Doug’s story is integral to Niamh Clune bringing together the support for Sahel and the creation of Song of Sahel The Anthology and putting together the idea of an Auction to raise the funds to help in the aid for Sahel. The world needs to help the starving children and their families. Their soil is ruined. Their lives are in danger from starvation. Global Devastation has has effected their land. It is true that the word needs to get out. Through the Anthology, which sounds magnificent, a child created by the creative and determined mind, heart and soul of Niamh Clune will be an expression of Sahel as told through the creativity of poems, photographs, paintings, music and the strength of all who contributed to its total creation. We must spread the word. Draw people to the cause of Sahel and The Anthology and the Auction, which on Sept. 16th.many paintings will be offered up to be bid upon. The Event will take place on Sept. 15th. Both will be 24hrs around the clock. I am posting this message along with the Reblog of this post on my blog site. The Secret Keeper – Jennifer Kiley ps, You did a fantastic job Niamh Clune and all who helped in putting all of this together.
Reblogged this on the secret keeper and commented:
Doug, while in Africa helping the people in Niger, was in danger. As we witnessed yestereday’s news on 9/11, Al Qaeda killed the US Ambassador. Doug’s story is integral to Niamh Clune bringing together the support for Sahel and the creation of Song of Sahel The Anthology and putting together the idea of an Auction to raise the funds to help in the aid for Sahel. The world needs to help the starving children and their families. Their soil is ruined. Their lives are in danger from starvation. Global Devastation has has effected their land. It is true that the word needs to get out. Through the Anthology, which sounds magnificent, a child created by the creative and determined mind, heart and soul of Niamh Clune will be an expression of Sahel as told through the creativity of poems, photographs, paintings, music and the strength of all who contributed to its total creation. We must spread the word. Draw people to the cause of Sahel and The Anthology and the Auction, which on Sept. 16th.many paintings will be offered up to be bid upon. The Event will take place on Sept. 15th. Both will be 24hrs around the clock. I am posting this message along with the Reblog of this post on my blog site. The Secret Keeper – Jennifer Kiley ps, You did a fantastic job Niamh Clune and all who helped in putting all of this together.
Simply a stunning & profound effort …. Niamh you are truly the our Princess of Tir-na-nog . . . taking us to a place where awareness unfolds to receive & give where a fierce response is called for. Your legacy is compassion beyond ego, and resilience in the glaring social face of complacency. Changes are wrought by the collective spirit of the chosen, and the heart of a few …. ❤
Your comment means a lot, Susie. Thank you.
A very talented group of writers, poets, artists and musicians. Looking forward to the launch on Saturday.
Thank You, Patricia. I will be posting the schedule soon.
WELL DONE TO ONE & ALL.
This is exciting! What a big project! It is awesome that you could put this all together.I just wanted to let you know that, my sister doesn’t live in Ireland, but PA, USA, and I am ten. 😉
Oh Sorry Erik. It is amended in the book. I must have posted the wrong version of the links! I had changed these details in the proofreading! OOOPS! I will amend here.
This beautiful bud had been in slow bloom for many months! Tender loving care and nurturing, watering, caring for and constant attention to has beckoned it into a most beautiful of blooms about to be shared with the world. You Niamh could be called the “Constant Gardener” in this project and we thank you and appreciate all of your efforts. Let’s hope it gets the attention it so deserves!
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Very much honored to be part of this global charity project fellow talented artists from all over 🙂 ~~Elizabeth
Love having you with us Elizabeth.
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Sometimes, a few tiny words is all it needs to say it perfectly.
Dear Niamh, thank you a mil for the opportunity to participate in this great cause. May you be blessed more for being who you are. You can count on my support for any future humanitarian ventures you will have. Be much blessed dear one!
Many thanks, Gloria…love your contribution.
This is such a wonderful project, and feel very proud to be a small part of it.
And I love your contribution. Thank you Harriet.