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It’s January 1st; we’re poised at the beginning of another year.
Not just any year.
In Ireland, 2016 marks the Centenary of the Easter Rising, the failed revolution that became a catalyst, paving the road to civil war and, ultimately, independence. For the next twelve months, those six days in April 1916, and their impact upon the society we live in today, will be at the forefront of Irish life, politics, art and culture.
2016 also brings a General Election in Ireland. We will decide once again who is to lead the country and the options aren’t pretty: the party who led us dancing into economic collapse or the one who failed to lead us out again.
Was there ever a more dangerous time to have our gaze fixed firmly on the glorious past?
Ireland in 2015
2015 brought its own revolutions with the long-awaited referendum on marriage equality and, for a brief shining moment we lit up the world and led the way, becoming the first country ever to vote for equality; #WakingtheFeminists drew attention to the lack of equality in The Abbey Theatre’s 1916 Centenary plans (with a little help from Meryl Streep), and tens of thousands turned out to protest water charges.
It also saw the fire tragedy at Carrickmines, the ugly resurgence of Traveller racism in its aftermath; the trial of Anglo Bank officials, and the Northern Ireland Assembly, brought to the brink of collapse.
A Year of Change
Beyond our shores, it was the year of the Greek financial crisis; the Syrian refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan crossing the Mediterranean to escape IS terror; the Charlie Hebdo shootings, IS bombings in Paris, Lebanon and Mali, Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria; the Black Lives Matter movement protesting police shootings in the US, as well as an alarming rise in the number of mass-shootings, amid calls for gun control; the emergence of The People’s Politician, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US; the chilling power of the 1% in Donald Trump’s Republican Party nomination bid, and the upcoming US General Election promises either the dawn of a new age of enlightenment, or the fall of democracy into the widening chasm between rich and poor.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Most of us learned about these events via social media, where the communication revolution continues, and 2015 became the year of the instant broadcast on Periscope. The Arab Spring risings of 2010 changed our relationship to the news forever; revolutions no longer happen at a distance, in the pages of a newspaper or over the shoulder of a television journalist, but live and in person, with their own #hashtag.
We are all connected in the global village but at what cost? Our baby pictures are owned by Facebook, while shadowy security spectres peek at them over its shoulder, and privacy infringement whistle-blowers, like Edward Snowden, hide out at the end of a camera lens.
We live in a world of impossible contradictions and we stand at the beginning of a new year: a time of change, of possibility, of resolution.
For our Poem of the Week slot in 2016, we’re calling for submissions on the theme of Revolution NOW. What do you want to see changed in the world and why? What are you losing sleep over? Name the itches you just can’t scratch. Maybe it’s not the world, but your world, the throes of a personal revolution. That’s OK. We want work that interprets the idea of revolution and change as widely as possible.
What we’re looking for:
Send up to 6 poems to [email protected], marked Revolution NOW, by 5 February 2016.
We welcome written submissions, sound and video performances, in the English language, from Ireland and beyond. Please submit your work in the format you want us to use. eg. page, YouTube, Soundcloud. We will only use high quality sound / video performances.
All written submissions should be in .doc/.docx format, not PDF. All submissions should be previously unpublished.
All submissions should include author’s full name (we won’t publish anonymous work), a headshot and a 100 word bio.
Featured Image source: http://www.thatslife.gr/