“Road movie” on Palestine’s poetry goes live

Last year saw the publication of A Bird is Not a Stone, an anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry translated by two dozen Scottish poets.

I had the honor of helping to edit the book, but the original idea came about on a trip which a smaller group of poets took to Palestine in the summer of 2012.

Well-known writers from Glasgow, supported by the city’s official twinning program with Bethlehem, visited Palestinian groups and communities around the West Bank, learning for themselves about Israel’s occupation and — in one meeting at the House of Poetry in al-Bireh — discussing their work with Palestinian writers.

It was at that meeting that Palestinian poets first suggested the book which became A Bird is Not a Stone.

Now, in addition to the book of translated poems, a film of that trip to Palestine explores the ideas and practices of cultural resistance in Palestine.

Words: Walls is described by its maker, Gregory Metcalfe, as “part road movie, part performance video, part travelogue.” It follows the group of Scottish artists as they witness the realities of life under occupation and find out how Palestinian writers deal with making art under profoundly political conditions.

The film was shown in rough cut at the Solas Festival in Scotland in 2013, but now a finalized version is about to go live. It will be shown at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow in April. Watch out for future screenings. 


Sarah Irving

Sarah Irving's picture

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, author of a biography of Leila Khaled and of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, co-editor of A Bird is Not a Stone (a volume of Palestinian poetry translated into the languages of Scotland), and a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked and traveled in Palestine since 2001.