27 episodes

Poets with experience of seeking refuge share their writing.
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.
Cover art painting by Shukran Shirzad.
Produced by Bairbre Flood.

Wander Bairbre Flood

    • Arts

Poets with experience of seeking refuge share their writing.
Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.
Cover art painting by Shukran Shirzad.
Produced by Bairbre Flood.

    Olha Matso

    Olha Matso

    Olha Matso has performed at poetry readings and spoken word events at the Winding Stair Bookshop and Vicar St. (as part of the Red Cross/Ukrainian Action Ireland event in 2022) and others throughout Ireland. 

    She’s created poetry videos on her youtube channel and was recently commissioned by artist Varvara Shavrova for a poetry reading at the launching of an installation at the Photo Museum Ireland. Olha is studying performing arts, acting for stage and screen, and she often blends poetry with movement, dance and performance.

    The ‘Executed Renaissance’, as Olha explains, was an artistic movement violently repressed by the Stalinist regime. These Ukrainian poets, writers, and artists of the 1920s and early 1930s founded many literary organisations, and created art as they put it: "on the brink of the possible". Hundreds of them were deported, imprisoned or shot.

    'Absurdity - and magical realism - it's more realistic than real life. It comes from the real life. People just live their lives in this domestic style, they forget about that magic and poetry. It comes to us to remind that ok, you live in this world, in a real world, but it's a magical world.'

    Follow her @olhamatso and watch her poetry videos.

    • 23 min
    Suad Aldarra

    Suad Aldarra

    'So I wanted to bring Syria back to life, the Syria that I fell in love with before war. And that's what I wanted to do. That's what I did in the book. Like I talk about food, my grandma's cooking, the music, scenery, the literature, the books, the love scenes, the love chapters where I fall in love with my husband. And I wanted to bring that to life. So in the book, the war is just a small chapter of it, but for me, the most important thing was life before war and after.'

    Suad Aldarra is a Syrian-Irish writer and data scientist. She was selected as the Common Currency writer in residence for Cuirt International Festival and has been on panels at many different literary festivals throughout Ireland, including at the Dalkey Book Festival, and most recently in April 2024, at the Cork World Book Festival. Her debut memoir, I Don’t Want to Talk About Home was published by Penguin in 2022, and was shortlisted for the ‘An Post Irish Biography of the Year’ Award.

    Follow Suad Aldarra here and here, and her website.

    Produced by Bairbre Flood with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

    • 30 min
    Dzaleka Poets Pt2

    Dzaleka Poets Pt2

    Continuing on with the African Youth Artistic Poetry poets from Dzaleka in Malawi, I’m delighted to have Kenny Mujago, Mirielle Abedi, Eagle, and Harry Rama as my guests today.

    'A lot of my poems are advocating for Africa and refugees.' - Harry Rama

    Kenny Mujago, reads an extract from his story, ‘A Snack From The Corner Street’ about the myriad connections food like chapati creates. Mirielle Abedi reads her poems, 'Wipe My Tears', and 'Woman', Eagle reads his poem 'Tears of Innocence' and Harry Rama recites two of his pieces:

    'Ask yourself why? To us poor, never say I am not me, but say I am me with the confidence without fearing anybody. Today is me. After so many years you. Life changing time, not because I'm wearing these clothes. Then you wanna undermine me, then you wanna laugh at me, but you don't know my tomorrow.' - Harry Rama

    Funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and produced by Bairbre Flood.

    • 15 min
    Dzaleka Poets

    Dzaleka Poets

    Charles Lipanda Matenga is a poet and activist and founder of AYAP - African Youth Artistic Poetry. His poems have been published in the anthology ‘Our Voices Are Gathering’ in 2023 and ‘Being A Refugee Wasn’t A Choice’ due out later this year.



    'Our flag is dying for you have failed to protect your mother Congo. You brought war instead of peace. When will you stop grinding and crushing us? We are spice in the mortar. How long these bloodshed be swimming eternal? We are refugees with no shelters. The rhythm of hymns sang by souls. For the guns, guns, guns have been killing us.'



    Ruth Takondwa a poet and advocate for gender equality and refugee rights in Dzaleka refugee camp, She reads 'A Hopeless Girl', 'A Woman In Esther':

    'A girl in Esther, she has been useless for so long. Seeing her with a bag on her back, laughing at her, that she's wasting her time for. But see now she's opening evils and poverty doors. She's walking above the ground. Even the wind is afraid to attack. See, she's empowering the girls making word honey for girls.

    Now she's very fantastic.'



    Firstborn, poet and activist, was selected to be part of the Global Young Influencers group in Malawi. He’s got a unique style, influenced by the Caribbean poet EA Prince, and he reads two pieces, including 'Is It A Case?':

    'Africa, save your tomorrow's generation. Build peace in your neighbor's mansion. Escape the white colonization. Save our mother Congo. Today, it's us. Tomorrow might be anyone.'



    Produced by Bairbre Flood with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

    • 17 min
    Neo Gilson

    Neo Gilson

    We talk about de-colonialising beauty standards, writing as a lifeline, experiencing the world through the eyes of her daughter, and 'setting a platform where things that we’re uncomfortable with discussing are being discussed'.



    ⁠Neo Florence Gilson⁠ is a poet, writer and storyteller from South Africa. In 2021, she was awarded the ⁠Play it Forward Fellowship⁠ with Skein Press. Her writing is published in The Stinging Fly, Storm's Journal of Poetry, Prose and Visual Art, The Irish Examiner and Poetry Jukebox Belfast. And she's Artist in Residence with ⁠Sample Studios⁠ and the Graffiti Theatre Company in Cork.



    Follow her: @neogilsonartist



    Thanks to the Arts Council of Ireland for their continued support.



    Produced by Bairbre Flood (@bairbreflood)

    • 18 min
    Marwan Makhoul

    Marwan Makhoul

    Palestinian poet Marwan Makhoul has published several works of poetry, including 'Hunter of Daffodils', 'Land of the Sad Passiflora', 'Verses The Poems Forgot With Me', 'Where is my Mom?' and 'A Letter From The Last Man'. His poems have won several awards and appeared worldwide in Arabic publications and translated into many languages.



    'That poem was written ten years ago. It's exactly the same details. The world just keeps quiet, you know. The war keeps repeating itself.' - Marwan Makhoul on 'Portrait of Gaza'



    Marwan was invited to Ireland by poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin (Poetry Ireland and Liam Carson of IMRAM) for the 'Listen To The Birds' series of multilingual events which blended Arabic and English - and Irish versions of his poems by Eibhlis Carcione, Liam De Paor and Aine Ni Fhoghlu. Two of these translations by Eibhlis Carcione are featured in this episode.



    Marwan recites 'Portrait of Gaza', 'Verses The Poems Forgot About Me' and 'On The Train To Tel Aviv', and Raphael reads the English translations.

    We talk about many things, including why it's so important that artists speak out about what's happening right now, and how to prevent poetry from slipping into sloganeering while also engaging with political issues.



    'The artist through the creative process, they give a new image of the personal and the national...Politicians, they put makeup on the truth. Whereas the role of the artist is to  wash away that makeup, and actually expose some kind of reality.'



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    Wander is an Arts Council of Ireland funded podcast series produced by Bairbre Flood which explores poetry related to migration, human rights and refugee solidarity.

    • 39 min

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