About the book

  • Winner of the ZEBRA International Poetry Film Festival, “Best Film for Tolerance”

Blood is Blood is a collaborative book-length poem for two voices, dealing with the bloodshed in the Middle East, a version of which was commissioned for CBC Radio in 2006. Souaid, of Christian Lebanese descent, and Farkas, the child of Jewish Holocaust survivors, give this piece a special resonance.

Blood is Blood is a powerful encounter between two poets, from diametrically opposed backgrounds, whose cultural and personal lives intersect, clash and confront the truths and fictions that have become the destructive reality of Jews and Arabs trying to co-exist in the Middle East. Artistically, it is an innovative tapestry of images, sound and text that challenges viewers to confront their own attitudes about this volatile relationship and conflict in general.

Although set in the troubled Middle East, its narrative speaks to tribal wars that have wreaked havoc around the globe: in Ireland, in the former Yugoslavia, in Russia, in Darfur, in Zimbabwe, and elsewhere.

Here in the "multicultural" West, it is easy to slip into apathy, to feel that there is nothing one can do, nothing one needs to do to initiate change where change is due. But Souaid and Farkas believe that all artists, not only those from the affected regions, should be "engaged" in the dialogue that unfolds on the international stage.

The 15-minute video-poem included in the book is a powerful visual interpretation of the text.

About the authors

Souaid, Carolyn Marie

Carolyn Marie Souaid has been writing and publishing poetry for over 20 years. The author of six books and the winner of the David McKeen Award for her first collection, Swimming into the Light, she has also been shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Prize and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Much of her work deals with the bridging of worlds; the difficulty, perhaps the impossibility of it, but the necessity of the struggle. She has toured her work across Canada and in France. Since the 1990s, she has been a key figure on the Montreal literary scene, having co-produced two major local events, Poetry in Motion (the poetry-on-the-buses project) and the Circus of Words / Cirque des mots, a multidisciplinary, multilingual cabaret focusing on the "theatre" of poetry. Souaid is a founding member and editor of Poetry Quebec, an online magazine focusing on the English language poets and poetry of Quebec.

Farkas, Endre

Endre Farkas was born in Hungary and is a child of Holocaust survivors. He and his parents escaped during the 1956 uprising and settled in Montreal. His work has always had a political consciousness and has always pushed the boundaries of poetry. Since the 1970s, he has collaborated with dancers, musicians and actors to move the poem from page to stage. Still at the forefront of the Quebec English language literary scene - writing, editing, publishing and performing - Farkas is the author of eleven books, including Quotidian Fever: New and Selected Poems (1974-2007). He is the two-time regional winner of the CBC Poetry "Face Off" Competition. His play, Haunted House, based on the life and work of the poet A.M. Klein, was produced in Montreal in 2009. Farkas has given readings throughout Canada, USA, Europe and Latin America. His poems have been translated into French and Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Slovenian and Turkish.

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Reviews

The format of the presentation is precisely right. The video production, hearing the speakers and seeing them in context with each other, makes the poem live…An enclosed DVD presents the authors, Endre Farkas (Jew) and Carolyn Marie Souaid (Arab), reciting… >>

The Rover

This is not a sentimental plea for peace or brotherhood. Both tell their people's history as they see it, expressing suspicions and prejudices in accusatory tones. Ultimately, they see the error of each other's 'tribal bravado' and the cycle of… >>

Canadian Jewish News

Endre Farkas and Carolyn Marie Souaid have prepared a DVD and book that remind us that Arabs and Jews are both Semites, and that, as in the Yin and Yang symbol, each zone of interacting black or white has a… >>

— Bert Almon Montreal Review of Books

Published as a poem and video-poem on CD, Blood is Blood speaks through two voices, each placed on opposing pages with the words "Jew" and "Arab" written above each voice. These words gradually fade until they have disappeared for the… >>

— Katherine McLeod Canadian Literature


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