Launching the "Plurality of Existence" Poetry Anthology

Senator Alice-Mary Higgins with writers Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon, Sinisa Koncic and Marie Claire Mundi Njong and artist Clodagh Emoe on World Refugee Day
Senator Alice-Mary Higgins with writers Jean-Marie Rukundo Phillemon, Sinisa Koncic and Marie Claire Mundi Njong and artist Clodagh Emoe on World Refugee Day

On World Refugee Day on Tuesday I had the pleasure of launching the “The Plurality of Existence in the Infinite Expanse of Space and Time”; a collaborative anthology of poetry from the artist, Clodagh Emoe and Crocosmia; a group of writers seeking asylum, many living within the system of direct provision in Ireland.

I first encountered this project as a site-specific art installation where we were invited to linger by the Corrib River and listen to a man speaking of another river, the Danube, at a time of war. When we hear "How does the lilac smell there?" we can almost smell the scent ourselves and feel what it might be like when the familiar become unfamiliar - when a city is made strange by conflict.

These poems give insight into what it is to exist in two places simultaneously, a feeling deeply understood by many migrants. Importantly, they bring visibility to the voices and experiences of those who have crossed the boundaries of nation, race and culture and have made their home in Ireland.

This anthology demonstrates, again, the vital role of art in putting issues onto the political agenda and raising them in our collective conscience. With over 65 million people displaced from their homes worldwide and widespread rhetoric of division and hate around Europe and beyond and a Direct Provision system in Ireland which is unfit for purpose, the work of artists in this regard is more important than ever. It is the role of politics and politicians to listen to these voices and respond effectively.

 

You can listen to the poetry here: http://www.clodaghemoe.com/the-plurality-of-existence-in-the-infinite-expanse-of-space-and-time/

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