“Life Support” at the Guggenheim Museum

Two lines from my 1982 poem, “Life Support,” from the anthology Kamal Boullatta and I co-edited, We Begin Here, Poems for Palestine and Lebanon (Interlink Books, 2007) appear as graffiti over text in artist Jenny Holzer’s current Guggenheim exhibition Light Line. The list of poets whose words are shown appears on the plaque.

Two stanzas from the same poem appear in the outdoor projection For the Guggenheim which was shown Thursday May 16 through Monday May 20, 2024. The projection may be shown again. Check for updates.

I’m honored that my words appeare[ed] in the company of brilliant poets including Mahmoud Darwish, Seamus Heaney, Anne Carson, Melanie Kaye Kantrowitz, Wislawa Szymborska and more.

It was particularly meaningful for me to experience the installation first with my dear friend of 44 years or so, the peace and social justice leader and coalition builder, Leslie Cagan, whose late partner, Melanie Kaye Kantrowitz’s scholarship, political insight, and poetry have taught me so much and who I miss dearly. And it was moving to return again with former students who I cherish and learn with, who care deeply about justice for Palestine.

Let us honor the students everywhere who’ve been steadfastly, bravely and creatively insisting on an end to the genocide in Gaza, as we honor the people who somehow continue in the midst of horror, and the 40,000 plus the uncounted and uncountable who’ve been killed these seven months in Gaza.

I encourage us to read a poem by a Palestinian every day.

My poem, “Life Support,” was written in 1982 at the time of the US-supported Israeli invasion of Lebanon that June, which was followed by the Sabra and Shatila massacre.