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Report on:
 "U.N.Vision and Millennium Development Goals Speak Through the Arts."
Special Poetry Program - September 7, 2006 - United Nations - NYC

by Arielle MESSUTI
Rapporteur of the "U.N. VISION and Millennium Development Goals Speak Through The Arts"
UN/DPI-NGO Annual 59th Conference

“From The Homeless Condition, to Aids, Human Security, to The Nuclear Threat – There is an Urgent call for Unity and to Hope and Believe in Great Humanity…”

Sponsored by
The Light Millennium, Inc., New York
Cosponsored with Communications Coordination Committee for U.N., *Respectful Interfaces* [ RESPITES], Dr. Linda Misek-Falkoff, New York, and Muzaffer Baca, Vice President; International Blue Crescent Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey.

These themes were presented successfully via this Special Poetry program, entitled, "U.N. Vision and Millennium Development Goals Speak Through the Arts", which was realized within the general concept of the UN/DPI-NGO 59th Annual Conference entitled, UNFINISHED BUSINESS: EFFECTIVE PARTNERSHIPS FOR HUMAN SECURITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

The Special Poetry program moderated by Bircan Ünver, Founding President, Light Millennium Organization, New York (LM), and sponsored by The Light Millennium, Inc.(, New York.  Cosponsored with Communications Coordination Committee for U.N., *Respectful Interfaces* [ RESPITES] and International Blue Crescent Foundation.

Poems Presented by:

Muzaffer Baca, Vice President, International Blue Crescent Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey, presented poems  by Turkish well-know poet Orhan Veli (1914-1950).

Prof. Sultan Catto, Advisory Board Member of the Light Millennium; Head of the City University New York, Graduate Center and Professor of Mathematical Physics at Yale University.

Ann Cefola, (American) Principal, Jumpstart

Terry M. Dugan, (American) Poet

Defne Halman, (Turkish-American) Actress; presented poems by Romanian Poete Carmen Firan and Turkish renowned poet Nazim Hikmet Ran (1902-1963)

Timothy Liu, Chinese American Poet

Kevin Pilkington (American) Poetry Professor, Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville College

Linda Simone, (American), Associate Director, Graduate Writing Program, Manhattanville College                                        

Music by Soroosh Ensemble with
- Amir Vahab
 (Persian), musician, folk and sufi music; voice, tanbur, ney
- Yvette Ghoughassian, (Iranian-American): Frame drum (Daf)
- Ron Erickson, (American): Goblet Drum (Zarb)

Approximately 75

This program was comprised of readings of original and anthology poetry, by poets and presenters from various backgrounds, cultures and countries. The poetry addressed key themes and visions in stirring ways. Broadening rights, sustaining development, and reframing ideas in universal contexts.  Poetry is a realm, which reaches out to minds as well as souls while universalizing global partnerships, “fostering positive connectivity” and promoting “respectful interfaces”.
Muzaffer Baca cited the poems, FREE and MIGRATION I by Orhan Veli Kanik.  Freedom can cost your head but prison is free”  MIGRATION I, gave a poignant account of the human soul’s intrinsic connection to it’s home.  “He began to love a girl / in the apartment / Across the street. / Despite all this / He left the place / And moved to another town.”

Sultan Catto, presented in his poem MONK’S RETURN “a quest between calligraphic lines/sacred world and timeless past which suggests leaving traces on a canvas via mediating… Distilled like a rare essence / from abstract truth, / separating herself from / far-off lands of literature,/ motions resemble the sea.” Catto, in his Dancer, symbolized while unfolding the stage of the street dancer’s global tragedy.

Ann Cefola presented excerpts ESCUCHE and BENIDICTION from her poem Demoiselles 7, inspired by Pablo Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. In ESCUCHE the words act as the voices of our world and the partnerships made within the NGO community. “We tried to warn – you / We Demoiselles who changed the world, - and didn’t // We’re weary with poverty and – war …. when you work to bring out a – human / you are less likely to want to destroy - all / the other small and wailing works of - art”

Terry M. Dugan presented her poem, TOSCA KISSES THE AIDS WARD and gave a visual portrayal of people infected with HIV/AIDS. Their strong human spirit seemed to overcome death and despair. “A sonance like no other diva / Reverberates throughout the ward / Maria Callas rocks the floor… Transported by Tosca’s darkest hour / Vissi d’ arte, Vissi d’ amore, / I lived for art, I lived for love.”

Defne Halman recited poems by Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963, died in his 13 years exile in Former Soviet Union), The Japenese Fisherman was written based on Hiroshima and Nagasaki “Nuclear Bombing” effects on Japanese sea, soil, and human lives. Japanese Fisherman poem with Defne Halman’s reading, has brought up the nuclear threat issue from “human security and environmental concerns” powerfully. The poem was written in 1956.

The second poem by Nazim Hikmet was The Great Humanity.  “The great humanity goes to work at eight / marries at twenty / dies at forty / the great humanity. // The great humanity has no shade on his soil / no lamp on his road / no glass on his window / but the great humanity has hope / you can’t live without hope.” Nazim profoundly reflected his belief for “The Great Humanity” for a better and safer world for all…

Halman also presented Carmen Firan’s (Romanian Poete) two poems entitled: Requiem for the Flooded City & Flight Tracks. In her last stanza of the Requem for the Flood City, “it takes naiveté to believe that this century will ever wake up / from its bloody hangover of the senses / the world’s placenta bubbles with muddy waters / death swims on her back / pulling behind her the last streetcar.”

Timothy Liu presented his poem The Desert Fathers and My Last Night on Rhodes.  “ singing hymns which has more scope / than a one kiloton nuke / Thirteen million / dead from AIDS - the life expectancy / in Botswana less than forty years of age. / Wiping out an entire nation. Not for lack / of drugs had we come for this: emotion-laden buggery levied against God’s word a world at odds with a go-as-you-please / self serving style” My Last Night on Rhodes. “No one around here claims / to own the moon-ah-isn’t that the beauty / of a place where you can slowly peel all / the layer-ruin upon ruin- a crumbling mosque”

Kevin Pilkington presented his poem Where you want to be.  “And if all the new clubs / make sure the city never / sleeps uptown the way the papers / claim, then the people under / cardboard in the alleys and in / front of doorways down here / every morning is how it finds / a way to nap// trash cans standing along the curb / like arthritic old men who know / the real purpose of any life is found / in what everyone else throws away”

Pilkington presented his poem, My Fathers’ Hands. “At first I was quite sure / they belonged to my father / until I looked closer / and saw Dublin on his thumb. / I knew then there was no / mistake.”

Linda Simone presented her poems with an aim to recognize homeless people in New York via her poetry.  Each weekday outside the library Café.  “I stop into the liberty café / buy an egg roll I don’t really want / turn back to the hard face / softened, the shy hand, for my / blessing, the freedom / to move on.”

Simone also recited her poem, Sonnet for the Portmanteau. “Each day I watch you comb your grey locks / and in your boxer shorts select the jeans / so fashionably torn about the knees. // …presentable for work , no street bum, you / are like the rest of us who dress for pay.

Bircan Unver presented her poem, PLEASE WAKE UP!.  “Our Planet is in danger / We are all in danger, please wake up!... To have a TODAY & TOMORROW/ For ourselves, our children and grandchildren / We must protect our unique planet as a WHOLE / From this mental illness, this threat / This blind and self-destructive force without any borders… ACTIVATE ALL YOUR POWER NOW! / To stop production and usage of NUCLEAR WEAPONS / Whether to protect our PLANET / Making it a PARIDISE / Or a HELL TO ETERNITY / COMPLETY UP TO YOU…And if the button has once been pushed…There is NO WAY BACK.”

Unver also recited her poem, Freedom of Human Spirit. “The human spirit has no limits” Unver’s works show the importance of human action and the need to recognize our ability to change.

Soroosh Ensemble: Amir Vahab, Yvette Ghoughassian and Ron Erickson. The assemble added diverse dimension and richness to the program as they played three pieces in Turkish and Iranian folk.

“U.N.Vision and Millennium Development Goals Speak Through the Arts.” Special Poetry program reflected the concept of the conference, “Unfinished Business: Effective Partnerships for Human Security and Sustainable Development” in a very inspirational approach for “fostering global connectivity”, “effective partnerships”, and promoting “respectful interfaces”.  The program got great attention and interest by the conference attendees, as well as opening new doors to the organizers of the program for new potential partnerships, one of the main goals of the UN/DPI-NGO – Annual 59th Conference.

For more information about the conference:

Fall 2006
Issue# 19
Poetry Writing Event
April 2004
External Link
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