Actions for Poet Ashraf Fayadh, Given Death Sentence in Saudi; Poems from Disputed ‘Instructions Within’ in New Translation

English PEN is taking action on behalf of Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who was given a death sentence in Saudi last week:

ashrafThe organization has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair since January 2015. This November 27, they will also be calling for the immediate and unconditional release of poet and curator Ashraf Fayadh, who was sentenced to death following a retrial last week.

PEN, in addition to issuing a “statement of concern,” is organizing a letter to Saudi authorities and one to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. They’re also putting together a statement of support for Fayadh signed by poets from around the world. The Guardian also has a short piece about writers and activists calling for Fayadh’s freedom.

Meanwhile, translator-activist Mona Kareem, who has led the campaign to free Fayadh, has translated more of the poets work from Instructions Within, the 2008 collection that sparked a complaint that led to the poet’s detention.

The cycle of poems opens:

petroleum is harmless, except for the trace of poverty it leaves behind
on that day, when the faces of those who discover another oil well go dark,
when life is blown into your heart to extract more oil off your soul
for public use..
That.. is.. the promise of oil, a true promise.
the end..