was released and came to the North East to give a reading.
This was a revised version of 'No, I'm not afraid' (strange that merely swapping the original oboe part for a soprano saxophone - here the admirable Amy Dickson - should be described as a world premiere), a realisation of six poems by Russian dissident Irina Ratushinskaya
for speaker (Beamish herself narrated) and chamber ensemble.
Coetzee, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney, as well as many other fascinating writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Annie Proulx, Richard Powers, Ben Okri, Ivan Klima, Carlos Fuentes, Andrei Voznesensky, Irina Ratushinskaya
The experience was to lead to friendships with several former Soviet dissidents, including Solzhenitsyn himself, Irina Ratushinskaya
and Vladimir Bukovsky.
In 1986 he campaigned vigorously for the release of Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya
, who was imprisoned unfairly by the Soviet regime.
In the 1980s he locked himself in a replica of a Soviet prison cell for 46 days during Lent to highlight the plight of Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya
A sort of sequel to Mandelstam's autobiography is also by a woman, but a woman-poet and Russian orthodox believer, Irina Ratushinskaya
, who wrote Gray is the Color of Hope (1990) primarily not about herself but about a group of fellow women political prisoners in a concentration camp from 1983-1986.
Appearing at "Blood and Letters," a conference in London organized by the women's theater company, The Spinx, in conjunction with the National Theatre's education department, she shared the platform with dissident Ukrainian poet Irina Ratushinskaya
and Amrit Wilson, a writer and activist on black women's and anti racist issues.
While in prison Ratushinskaya
wrote some 250 poems, first scratching them into bars of soap and then, after memorizing them, washing them away.
Stark and appropriately full of rage, many of her poems, especially those written from and about prison, remind me of the work of the Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya
, not only in their depiction of incarceration but also in their simple, direct style.
Then he swung hard, saying that he looked forward to the time "when a Mandelstam will no longer die in a camp, when a Pasternak will be able to go to Stockholm and collect his Nobel Prize, when a filmmaker such as Sergey Peredjanov will not be sentenced to five years of jail for being a homosexual, and when merely for marching in the wrong peace march and publishing in banned trade union publications the poetess Irina Ratushinskaya
will not be condemned to seven years of hard labor to be followed by five years of internal exile.
He also pored over the work of other writers who had suffered, including Ngg wa Thiong'o from Kenya, who was forced into exile, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was hanged in Nigeria in 1995, South African anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus and the Russian dissident Irina Ratushinskaya