Pussy Riot


With the news yesterday that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for a wholly necessary and valid political protest, I have suggested to many poets in London that a potential poetry reading, as an act of solidarity, would be valuable. There are limitations to the nature of such a reading, but if only as an act of solidarity, to be recorded and recognised, for members of our generation writing for real political change in another part of the world, it is worth it. Perhaps even as an act of appreciation on our part for the differing circumstances we find ourselves in, its all the more worthy. 

I travelled to Russia and spent some time in the country a few years ago, so this draconian embarrassment to the people of that nation, who must wear it to a woman and man as such, can only highlight what we have, and what they do not have, and the painful immediacy, which we often so readily forget, of the absolute necessity of true freedom of expression. After Litvenenko, Politskovskaya, Khodorkovsky, the Pussy Riot situation has crushed any remaining cogency for Putin's Russia in the West, exactly as he wishes, to embolden his chances of being elected by a anti-Western, conservative majority.

The image featured is Tom Raworth's Rasputin.