Tag Archives: philadelphia

Qatar Flies Into The City of Liberty As Poet Rots In Jail

mohammed-al-ajamiQatar Airlines is now flying into Philadelphia and all the local politicians, or it seems, are excited to have them here. I am aware of the economic impact of such an add on at the airport, however, there is a poet, Mohammed al-Ajami who was sentenced to life in prison for writing a poem. The sentence was later reduced to 15 years. Mohammed al-Ajami,  a poet, who wrote a poem, is serving 15 years for doing so. The question: Will the city known as the cradle of liberty do nothing for a few Qatar bucks?  In the past we have contacted Pa. Senators Casey and Toomey and nothing was accomplished. Possibly contacting Philadelphia City Council or the Mayor’s office would help. Bucks over liberty, a song that never grows old.

The offending poem appears below, yes this poem deemed so offensive to the Emir that a man sits in a cell with no apparent hope of release.

The Poem 

Mohammed al-Ajami

We are all Tunisians (Tunisian Jasmine)*

Mr. Prime Minister Mohamed al-Ghannoushi
You don’t hold constitutional power
We don’t wax nostalgic for Ben Ali or his times
For us that’s past history
The dictatorship of a despotic and oppressive regime
Against which the people have raised their revolutionary voice
We only criticize the disgrace and the horror
And when we praise somebody it’s only because of our personal convictions
Oh revolutionary hail the struggle with the blood of the people
Carve the value of rebellion in the soul of the free
And tell those who are holding their shroud
That every victory bears its ordeals
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that country whose foolish king
Believes he can rely on the American military
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country whose people are empty bellied
While its government time and again praises the growth of finance?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of the country where you go to sleep a citizen
And you wake up stateless the next morning?
Ah, when shall it be the turn of that repressive and hereditary regime?
Until when shall you remain a slave to selfishness?
Until when shall the people remain unaware of its value
And fail to choose its own government?
Enough with tyrannical regimes!
Tell the one who torment his people
That tomorrow someone else will take his place
He should not rest assured that the country belongs to him or his offspring
Because the country belongs to the people and so does glory
Join your voices in a chorus for a single destiny
We are all Tunisian in the face of repression
Governments and Arab governments
Are all- without exception
A gang of thieves.
And there is a question that rings obsessively in the minds of those who wonder
But shall never be answered by the official sources:
If we import all kinds of things from the West
Why can’t we import freedom and the rule of law?


- g emil reutter

Michael and Maguire April 27th

The Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present our Featured Poets/Writers Reading on April 27th with Poets Ann E. Michael and Dan Maguire at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Host: Rodger Lowenthal.  The reading will begin @ 2pm in the second floor gallery of the museum. The features will be followed by an open reading


Poet, essayist, librettist, and educator Ann E. Michael is Writing Coordinator at DeSales University. Her work has been published in many journals, including Poem, Natural Bridge, Ninth Letter, Runes, Diner, Sentence, Slant, ISLE, The Writer’s Chronicle, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts and others, as well as in numerous literary anthologies. She is a past recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Her chapbooks include More than Shelter, The Minor Fauna, Small Things Rise & Go, and The Capable Heart. Her full-length collection, Water-Rites, is now available from Brick Road Poetry Press. You can read the poetry of Ann E. Michael in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/Michael.html


Dan Maguire’s poetry has won prizes and awards and has appeared in numerous anthologies and reviews. He has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. Poets Robert Bly and Gerald Stern have favorably reviewed his work. His latest release titled Finding The Words is available from Plan B Press. You can read the poetry of Dan Maguire in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/17-DMaguire.html

Ryerss Youth Poetry Contest Reading – April 5th @ 1pm


Ryerss Museum and Library presents the winners of the First Annual Youth Poetry Contest on April 5th @ 1 pm. Poet in Residence Diane Sahms-Guarnieri will host this event and cash awards and certificates will be issued by Ryerss Museum and Library and The Friends of Ryerss. For more information on the winners please visit: http://www.ryerssmuseum.org/2014/03/21/first-annual-youth-poetry-contest-winners/


State Rep. Boyle is Hosting a Shredding Event!


Do you have documents that need shredding? State Rep. Kevin Boyle is hosting a Shredding Event at his Fox Chase Office on April 5th.  

- Free Document Shredding Event, Saturday, April 5th – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 7801 Hasbrook Ave. (Hasbrook Ave. and Hartel Ave.), Philadelphia, PA 19111.

Bring personal financial documents that are no longer needed, and any other papers with confidential information, such as account numbers and signatures. The documents will be shredded on site. You can bring up to 4 shopping bags of personal documents to be shredded on site and recycled.

Examples of items to bring:

Documents containing Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers

Credit card applications

Canceled or unused checks

Insurance and income tax records

Bank and credit card statements

Pension information

Ryerss Announces Winners of 1st Annual Youth Poetry Contest

First Annual Youth Poetry Contest (Grades 9-12)
Winners’ List
9th Grade
Frist Prize          Sarah Smolnicki       A Visit to Ryerss  Saint Hubert High School
10th Grade
First Prize               Melissa Phung          Arab Hunter               Central High School
Second Prize         Jessica Bachman    Untitled                         First Century Gospel
Third Prize            Harry Yang               Time After Time       Central High School
Hon. Mention      Maeve Thomas          Friend Cemetery      Abington High School
11th Grade
First Prize            Drew Schmidt         Drifting Through        Abington High School
                                                                        Frozen Memories
Second Prize      Kathleen O’Neil             Sky Split Snow       Abington High School
Third Prize         Aajay Gauthier              Maturity                 Abington High School
Hon Mention    Dominick Palma            Lessons of                 Central High School
12th Grade
First Prize            Erin Burke                      Anne                  Cheletnham High School
Second Prize       Matt Yoskowitz            Down the Slope   Abington High School
Third Prize          Fatjona Zemanaj         Swing                    Abington High School
Hon. Mention   Matthew Dawson       A Treat for All      Jenkintown High School   
Poet in Residence, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri 

On April 5th @ 1pm Ryerss Museum and Library will host the 1st Annual Youth Poetry Reading in the second floor gallery featuring the poetry of all the winning students. 

Irish Blessings in Honor of Saint Patrick’s Day


Saint Patrick’s Day is still six days off, but in this part of the world the celebration begins on the first of March. In honor of the day and celebration we share the following Irish Blessings from the public domain and The Irish Blues, a song by John Mullin.
May the Irish hills caress you
May her lakes and rivers bless you
May the luck of the Irish enfold you
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
May the love and protection
Saint Patrick can give
Be yours in abundance
As long as you live.
May your pockets be heavy
And your heart be light
May good luck pursue you
Each morning and night.
May you have warm words on a cold evening
A full moon on a dark night
And the road downhill all the way to your door.
May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland’s faith and pride.
May God bless us with happiness
And may love and faith abide.
May the sound of happy music
And the lilt of laughter
Fill your heart with gladness
That stays forever after.
Erin Go Bragh, bring my pipe and fill its bowl
That I may puff to soothe my soul
For it is sure to clear my brain
And bring old memories back again.
May you always have
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

A tune: Irish Blues by  John Mullin on Youtube:



Charlotte Forten: Race & Education

From Larry Robin of The Moonstone Arts Center

More information available at: www.moonstoneartscenter.org

Moonstone Arts

Celebrate the 183rd Birthday of Robert W. Ryerss

robert ryerssSaturday-March 8th @ 1 pm

Ryerss Museum and Library

7370 Central Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19111


Join Ryerss in celebrating the birth of the man who donated his home to house a library and museum for the people of Philadelphia. There will be games, refreshments, birthday themed crafts for adults and children. Poet in Residence Diane Sahms-Guarnieri will read a poem in honor of Robert W. Ryerss.  This event is free!

Jane Rosenberg LaForge and Steve Burke in Fox Chase March 30th

The Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present our Featured Poets/Writers Reading on March 30th with Poets Steve Burke and Jane Rosenberg Laforge at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. Host: Rodger Lowenthal.  The reading will begin @ 2pm in the second floor gallery of the museum. The features will be followed by an open reading


Steve Burke lives in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia with wife Giselle & daughter Mariah, he has worked for many years as a labor & delivery nurse, and has been writing poetry even longer than that. His poetry has been published in Apiary Magazine, Philadelphia Stories, The Fox Chase Review and the Mad Poets Review. You can read the poetry of Steve Burke in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13WS/Burke.html


Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in New York City with her husband, daughter, and her daughter’s cat. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women” (The Aldrich Press, 2012) and four chapbooks of poetry. Her experimental novel and memoir, “An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir,” will be published by Jaded Ibis Productions in 2014. You can read the poetry of Jane Rosenberg LaForge in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/LaForge.html

FCR Broadsides 14-2 and 14-3 Available on Feb 23rd


Our Broadside Series continues with 14-2 and 14-3, printed in a limited edition of 30 copies.  Broadside 14-2, Surface Quality by Maria Keane and 14-3, Initial and Pass On by Michael Steffen will be available on February 23rd at our Featured Poet/Writer Reading at Ryerss Museum and Library. More information at this link: http://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/keane-and-steffen-in-fox-chase-february-23rd/