Munir Mezyed “Foundation for Arts and Culture” : Interview «Odyssey International Festival »

Λίγες μέρες μετά την μεγάλη διοργάνωση ” Odyssey International Festival”  έχουμε την τιμή και την χαρά να γνωρίσουμε καλύτερα τον Ιορδανό, Παλαιστίνιο, ποιητή, μυθιστοριογράφο, μεταφραστή και οραματιστή,  τον  ιδρυτή μιας μη κυβερνητικής οργάνωσης, “Ίδρυμα Τεχνών και Πολιτισμού Munir Mezyed” Munir Mezyed  μέσα από την συνέντευξη  που μας παραχώρησε.

A few days ago, before the great “Odyssey International Festival” we have the honor and pleasure to get to know the Jordanian-Palestinian, poet, novelist, translator and visionary, the founder of a non-governmental organization, “Munir Mezyed Foundation for Arts and Culture”.

Munir Mezyed, according to the Canadian poetess Margaret Kowalewska, is the greatest poet of our times whose artistry surpasses others in this field. Where as Indian Dr. Seema Devi described him as a living legend in our modern history, saying, “I may dare to say, as is Albert Einstein in physics and Michelangelo in art so is Munir Mezyed in the world of poetry.” The Iraqi Professor Abdul-Sattar Al-Assad who called Munir Mezyed ” The New Eros”, sees Munir Mezyed’s poetry as ” a great revolution in art, in language, in poetry, in the myth and metamorphoses beyond handling creative and genius metaphors.

Reading your biography, your literary activity, your essays, and generally your rich work, one would think that you have lived 3 lives. Tell us, when did your need for expression first emerge from within you and what inspired you?

 Everything started as a dream. I remember an incident that happened when I was 10 years old. I was lying on my bed ready to go to sleep. Just as I was about to doze off, I saw a flock of sparrows in my room. Frightened, I crawled under the covers, but half of my head was exposed. Holding the Poetry for All Poetry for Life blanket with my two little hands, I was trying to bury my head yet my eyes were wide open, gazing at the scene. The sparrows had different colors and they were dancing! I was entranced and wondered where they had come from. Soon my fear left me and I was comforted watching them dance and not doing any harm. I thought for a while that I must be dreaming because as they continued dancing, a beautiful woman appeared. Her hair was so long that I could see it touching the ground, and around her head was a coronet of tiny roses. She had yellow wings like a butterfly, but what really amazed and bewitched me was the halo that surrounded her. Wearing a translucent, pure silk, ivory, long dress, and holding a harp in her hands, she stood next to my bed. Looking at me with a big smile on her face, she started to play and sing while the sparrows continued dancing.

Where the sun begets flowers,

Moon enchants lovers,

 Dawn bedews earth’s countenance,

Morn’ bestrews the air with fragrance;

Where love becomes a spell,

A remedy for all ill…

I could not say a word; I could only watch the sparrows and listen to the song. One of the sparrows, green and yellow in color, flew to my bed and hovered there until I got up to catch it. It fluttered its wing and disappeared. I looked around for the others but they were also gone. Only the woman remained, continuing her song.

You can say that incident was the spark that ignited my inner creativity and passion. Therefore, all my poems are inspired by the bizarre world of dreams. And if you ask me who I am, I will definitely say I am still discovering myself.

I still see myself as that child who saw the sparrows with different colors dancing around him. The child, who Poetry For All Poetry For Life sees himself sometimes as Endymion and at other times as Odysseus, Prometheus, or Orpheus, who finds himself lost in magical worlds, refusing to depart from those worlds till he writes down what he sees, so that the dream will not die.

Tell us a philosophical quote that depicts the current reality in the context of the world map with the parameter of social sensitivity.

Indeed, I have selected a few philosophical quotes that I wrote, which reflect the current challenge if you allow me to share them:

 – In order to understand the recent surge of hate, we have to examine the role of the social and religious institutions that segregate us from getting to contact with one another. Therefore, the religious discourse that is not intended primarily to call for the unification of the human family is worthless and belongs to chaos and desires.

 – My divine theory is that we can serve God through Philanthropy. Therefore, I believe that Philanthropy is the best way to serve God. A word can be a philanthropic act.

 – The highest form of ignorance is when you live by your own belief in the power of Irrationality.

 – Only fanatics and radicals deify their own beliefs. And Radicalization is the congenital inclination to do evil.

 – Be the mirror in which we see God.

The “Odyssey International Festival” could send a strong message through the voices of hundreds of poets; this year which do you think would be the most important topic that would be maybe even timeless?

The Main Mission of Munir Mezyed Foundation for Arts and Culture is to unite the Human Family. Therefore, we believe that World peace, or peace on Earth, can be Poetry For All Poetry For Life achieved through Arts and Culture. For this purpose, I created the idea of holding an International Festival for Arts & culture. Through this festival, we can deliver the message of love, unity and brotherhood. Starting from this, it was imperative to find a means to open the door for dialogue and bring different cultures together for the sake of reaching a common agreement and building up stronger and more extensive friendships between nations. Thus, we decided to use the voice of poetry as a call to put an end to all forms of fighting, and hatred, and to bring different cultures together. Organizing an international festive was not a mere instantaneous idea. Reading history, we would discover that the 20th century was one of the most troubled in human history, dominated by wars, conflicts and severe ideological struggles. It witnessed the emergence of “total wars,” such as World War I and World War II. Consequently, the 20th century was plagued by what contemporary scholars are calling “Generic Fascism.” In the 21st Century, we are witnessing a general rise in radicalization due to the outcome of the proliferation of culture of fear that refers to the type of a fear-inciting rhetoric that politicians or writers or journalists or religious leaders – the chief priests and the Pharisees- are using in order to achieve political or workplace goals through emotional bias. Nazi leader Hermann Göring explains how people can be made fearful and support a war they would otherwise oppose to: “People don’t want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.” Poetry For All Poetry For Life Indubitably, culture is a widely discussed topic among anthropologists because it plays a particularly important role in human life and in creating and shaping public opinion and in strengthening society. Indeed, it provides important social and economic benefits, enhances our quality of life and increases awareness and our consciousness Level. We should bear in mind that the more the cultural identity is flexible, renewable, and open to the other cultural identities and interacting positively with them, the more likely it will become a compass for the global leadership and a model of evolution. I believe poetry is the mother of culture. According to the ancient Greeks, poetry was the sublime art. In our era it is an art that helps mankind find its lost identity, and leads the way to our lost paradise. Therefore it can make us see ourselves and the world in greater depth and clarity. Its truth, its moral dimensions and its wider social significance are things that seize us immediately. The blood is chilled, and we see for the first time what should have been obvious. Life and poetry occupy very different spheres, but with poetry we travel with our eyes open through a world that is cruel, uplifting and beautiful. We understand our place in the larger scheme of things, which was possibly our birthright before science and the minutia of everyday life locked us out.

Canadian poet Margaret Kowalewska says, among other things: “Munir Mezyed offers a wonderful dose of high sensuality and spiritual art. This superior poet is unique. “His talent deserves the Nobel Prize in recognition of his brilliance” On October 8, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Mats Malm, announced the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 to be awarded to the American poet Louise Glick for her “unquestionably poetic voice which, through a strict aesthetic experience, makes her unique. With a look back at the Nobel Prize in Literature Poetry For All Poetry For Life from 1901 to the present, what parameters do you think contribute to the selection, how meritocratic/impartial is it, and/or how subjective?

When we talk about the Nobel Prize or any other prizes related to literature, then we have to know that there are many factors that are involved in this issue. One of the most important factors for someone to become a Laureate is the support of political power and its inner circle. I call this inner circle “the chief priests and the Pharisees.” No poet or writer could get a prize without the blessings and support of “the chief priests and the Pharisees”. But I cannot say at the same time that those who got the Nobel Prize in Literature do not deserve it, nor are they the ones who really deserve it. My situation is completely different from any writer in this world. I am the writer who has been opposed to and rejected by the chief priests and the Pharisees. I am a Jordanian Palestinian poet, novelist, translator and Essayist , whose work is banned by the chief priests and the Pharisees in the Arab world due to my liberal thinking and my struggle for democracy and human rights. Then we have to acknowledge the fact that one of the greatest challenges the free intellectual in the Arab world is facing is that one has to choose, in case one obstinately refuses to abandon their faith or to follow the steps of the chief priests and the Pharisees , one of these three places: exile, tomb or jail. This situation led into cultural crisis and paved the way to radicalization. Therefore, I chose to be a free bird, singing on the branches of eternity, fighting the corruption of the chief priests and the Pharisees. The Nobel Prize in Literature would add nothing to Munir Mezyed as a poet and a writer, because the work of Munir Mezyed is his vision, not the Nobel Prize. Nothing would change in the way I feel, think, or act; nor would such a Poetry For All Poetry For Life prize make me any different; I never did that when I was under threat or political/religious persecution. That is why I have never learned to follow orders. Nor would I ever succumb to any threat or extortion in order to obtain anything – including the Nobel Prize – or any other prize for that matter. I only accept challenges. Therefore, the only thing that might make the difference would be that it will bring more publicity and I will definitely enhance and intensify my efforts concerning my goal towards world peace. But I would be delighted if I could win the Nobel Prize in Literature, because it would be a big defeat for the chief priests and the Pharisees and a stunning victory for The Nobel Laureate Committee and for poetry.

 Is erotic poetry inspired by experiences, by imagination, by the unsatisfied, the elusive or the forbidden?

In my point of view, classifying poetry in a specific category is a classical approach. We need to re-read Plato’s Ion Dialogue and Aristotle’s Poetics. We cannot just put a frame around poetry and then we say, this is Erotic Poetry or Sufi or Romantic or Symbolic or sensual. In my opinion, a Good Poem should have all the elements, because a Poem is a universe by itself. Yes, I wrote 7 poetry books, which can be classified by classical critics as Erotic Poetry. But each poem in these 7 poetry books has all the other elements. The Iraqi Professor of English Literature in the University of Basra Abdul-Settar Al-Assady, called me “New Eros”. He gave me this name, not for my erotic poems but for, I quote, ‘New Eros’ whose role is revealed through the ‘metaphors of Love’, is in a position to embody that both the ‘Sublimity’ (in thought, in the use of figures and induction), on the one hand, and the ‘Love’ felt by Eros/the Lover, on the other hand, brilliantly enough, go in an unnoticed way, and with an unprecedented passion for the ‘Beloved’ in person. Also, the study concludes that Poetry For All Poetry For Life the New Eros extends similar passion for all ‘Humanity’ through fostering a radical human thinking aspiring for the ‘Oneness’ of all peoples under the slogan of ‘Eros/Love’ that repudiate.’ Sublime love, imagination, dreams and experiences are the mystical River where erotic poetry drinks and quenches its thirst for love.

 In the centuries of literary recordings, schools of great poets have been formed according to their type of poetry, their characteristics and their inspiration. Do you place yourself in one of the above schools or could you belong to a school that will be added later on in the history of literature?

As I said before, classifying poetry in a specific category is a classical approach. We need to re-read Plato’s Ion Dialogue and Aristotle’s Poetics. We cannot just put a frame around poetry and then we say, this is Erotic Poetry or Sufi or Romantic or Symbolic or sensual. It is indeed not fair to classify my poetry into any poetry school. My poetry belongs to Precognition School of Poetry. I call it “Absolute Poetry” in which Mysticism, Eroticism, Symbolism, Romanticism, Elements of Nature, Power of Femininity and Others are united in one image, like the circle of Yin-Yang. Their dance and moves compose the poem. In “Absolute Poetry”, the Elements of Nature have senses. They hear, speak, listen and feel. If history would consider Munir Mezyed as one of the greatest poets, it would definitely give me the credit for creating the vision of Absolute Poetry.

Litterateurs have a special tendency to write poetry based on human existence or eroticism or a third one that combines many elements together.

Which of those do you personally tend to?

Poetry For All Poetry For Life This question is associated with other 2 previous questions. So I will give a different answer. In poetry, the Aesthetic Value lies in creativity. I earnestly believe that the power of literary creativity lies in freedom wherein it has been freed from concepts, beliefs, values, and laws that still prevail without transgressing the spiritual meanings and moral values. The Iraqi Professor Abdul-Settar Al-Assady described my poetry as a great revolution in art, in language, in poetry, in the myth and metamorphoses beyond handling creative and genius metaphors, because I write after moments of reverie in which I see what is not seen. Therefore I have no idea what I will, see but I go on to explore it. For I see the poem as an ethereal living being calling, whose spirit is the echo that reveals the secrets of the poet’s spirit and his visions. Poetry no longer expresses something that can be true or false or expresses a set of emotions or some subtle feeling composed in words, but a vision composed in images. This way, the poem becomes a painting of a journey to the unseen.

Tell us something about your partners, your team, all those who participate in this effort of this year’s “Odyssey International Festival”

I believe culture that serves any political interests or any ideological movement would lead to radicalization. Therefore, culture must serve only the people and their interests no matter what their religious affiliation, the color of their skin, and their gender. The most important thing is that culture should elevate people’s conscience, awareness and ethical standards, liberating them from all forms of tyranny and oppression. Therefore, it is imperative to find creative individuals who believe in the role of culture and in our objectives and mission, and ready to dedicate themselves to our goals. I was very lucky to find those creative individuals who are ready to work as a team and ready for the assigned mission Poetry For All Poetry For Life as much as possible. Thus, we formed a talented team of creative people, and called it “Odyssey Golden Team”: Poet Nurul Hoque , Poet Mou Modhubontee, Poet Sandra Vulin, Poet Sabrina Rubin, Poet & Artist Silla Maria Campanini, Poet Mihaela Botezatu, Katerina Koumlidou, Dr. DC Shaha, Poet Raja Negara, Poet Violeta Bozovic, Poet Sue Zhu, Poet Leticia Guzmán, Poet Arijana Milijkovic, Dr.Hayat Shami, Poet & Writer Eva Petropoulou-Lianou, Enginner Yanal Mazouz Shalat, Poet Maria Hermilda Chavarria, Poet Mahabub Ara Begum, Poet Mili Das, Poet Carmen Wright, Poet Türkan Ergör. Indeed, many creative people have wanted to join our Golden Team.

The great value of the Odyssey, as well as of the Iliad, is evident from the fact that they were completely saved due to their great spread; in contrast to the epic circles. Even today they inspire writers, artists and film directors of various nationalities. What does this work mean to you? Which is the focal point in it, according to you?

Odyssey and Gilgamesh, in my point of view, are the most important Epics. Both Epics shaped the way I think and see the world. In Odyssey, Odysseus and his men set sail for their homeland, Ithaca. The focal point is that all you need to accomplish your goal is Courage and Determination. Love bears all things, believes in all things, hopes for all things, and endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Odysseus, in Odyssey, set sail for Ithaca, while Gilgamesh set out in search for eternity. The focal point in Gilgamesh is how to turn enemies into friends, and how to be immortal. Munir Mezyed is both Odysseus and Gilgamesh in their search. Poetry For All Poetry For Life Today in the year 2020, what is your opinion on modern skeptics, visionaries, philosophers, and poets? To be creative among visionaries, philosophers, and poets, you need to understand and comply with the Ancient Greek Aphorism “know thyself” and the other two maxims “nothing in excess” and “surety brings ruin’. The great Romanian historian and writer, Nicolae Iorga, said, “if you write for a certain group of people, you will be appreciated and read by them but when you write what you feel and think, you are writing for all the people.” Writing for the need to be immortal, you must avoid being involved in the culture according to the trend of the era; although it is a dominant power, it only brings fake glory: Power, Fame and Name. In “Seasonal Culture”, the writer can only obtain fake glory, in which he moves according to the movement of the wind and its direction.

“The difficulties of life are usually dealt with in three ways: through hope, dream and humor. (Kant)”

Tell us about your dream or rather your vision.

My dream is very simple. I want to see all the people in this world living in peace and harmony. In order to see that, I want to be a player among others players, and to be remembered as a Poet & Writer who dedicated his entire life to this dream.

Dedicate a favorite poem of yours to us and talk to us about it, describing the feeling and the inspiration (while writing it).

One night I had a dream where I saw Queen Cleopatra running, refusing to surrender herself to the enemyThen I heard her saying,

 “Munir, I have a message for you. I am Cleopatra who has been deceived by fake glory. Your life is a Mystery upon Mystery, but your fight for democracy in the Arab world, for human rights, and for arts and Culture is the noblest of all. Let this fight be your ultimate way to become the immortal man.” Poetry For All Poetry For Life

 Third Eye    

Munir Mezyed

I have been commanded to be the first to look

Into the mirror of the soul with the Third Eye

There is a Deep Rattle Sound at the bottom of silence

elusive

Shrouded in the garments of mystery

 I see it rising from the bottom

Flitting in reckless abandon, an elusive madness

from place to place

Biting the breast of water

And slapping the wind across the face

Each mirror that was dead then revived by the light with its breath

Knew its drinking place

The blue grass and the red trees that wait impatiently for the rainfall

Are the sparkling adornments of life that distinguish it from

Death

What would I say to the poem if it came and said:

I am that Deep Rattle Sound at the bottom of silence

And you are not more than a skillful fisherman

Fishing for poems and nymphs

Did you not know that life is a word portal

The way you say It, It will be

What would I say if it asked me

If I have been satisfied with what I saw

Or if I still think of the woman who I yearn for her scent

What could I do if it came to me

Taking off its clothes and invited me to the bed?

And If I accepted the invitation

Would I be of those who betray – I do not know!

Cleopatra & the Last Dance

Poem of Munir Mezyed

In the soil of imagination

The tree of dreams is fruitful with the chirping of a secretive sky

In which slumber yearning for a mysterious dream grows

It refuses except to wipe the dust from the wounded tale

It is time, my love to pray

To pray together in the presence of the dry leaves

And to let the word shed its ideas as teardrops

It might be able to quench the thirst of life for tears as it desires

And to let it savor the nectar sprinkled with pepper

From the soul that got burnt by the abundance of sins

We should not let darkness nest in the odes

So that the fertile word would not become barren

The sky is curving too fast around the body of the suicidal

Queen

I see her voice yelling in my heart:

 I am the Queen, the owner of charm and talismans

God gave me kingship and femininity

And taught me how to hunt kings and princes

And I am the one who makes magic kneel before me

I can easily seduce and tempt whatever

I desire

If you desire to take my body, you will have to take it dead

With my free spirit

I can find everything I desire in the gardens of Unseen

Even the face of God

On The Filoxeni Art Portal

By Agathi Revithi

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