Roger Humes

On 9/11, the world changed before our eyes and as it did so, a quiet unassuming poet and computer graphic artist based in Los Angeles had begun to alter the landscape of international poetry.

The art of Roger Humes, not only lies in his poetry or his art, but in his very unique nature: he has done more to cross the divide between the Christian and Arabic worlds through poetry than any number of diplomatic missions. He is fearlessly impressed by the Arabic poetic voice and his work is testament to that love and dedication.

Over the past four years Roger Humes has created an extensive online poetry anthology OTHER VOICES (www.othervoicespoetry.org) showcasing the finest poetic voices from across the West/East divide.

OVI (Other Voices International) is committed to erasing national boundaries, arbitrary distinctions of ethnicities, divisive religions, disparate cultures, and brings us some of the world's best poetry.

Many will perhaps never have heard of names such as Afshin Babazadeh, Clara Hsu, Kemp, Mahnaz Badihian, Nafiss Nia, Robab Moheb, Sam Vaseghi, Samsum Kashfi or Shirin Razavian. Other Voices changes this for anyone who spends time browsing the 29 volumes.

Diversity, individuality and originality speak volumes in the name of peaceful co existence and tolerance and is as much a celebration of individual humanity as is iPeace.

The OV mission statement clearly describes the heart of the matter that resonates in us all …

In our lives, where boundaries are more deeply defined by radicalism and traditions of suspicion fear and hate than they have ever been by actual geographical borders, we can no longer pretend we are the Innocent. Out of the acts gracing and disgracing the pages of history, September 11th has done more to change the world and the way we all live in it - because life versus death elsewhere can no longer be the basis of a belief of living in a safe world. This monumental tragedy has left behind nothing that can be put into words, but a simple sense of having seen that gut wrenching event make thoughtless nations even more thoughtless and arrogant …

The cataclysmic tragedy of 9/11 has endangered our daily lives, not because of the reality of terrorism, but because of the political culture it catalysed: a war against a notion of terrorism justifying carte blanche military actions worldwide, expedited by a complicit apparatus controlling the content and diffusion of information. What is new is the speed at which and the extent to which ordinary people have access to information. How the content and context of this phenomenon is ideologically controlled, irrespective of the source, is just one aspect of the manner in which contemporary political and commercial interests propel international politics, with little thought for its impact on the lives of ordinary people. Apathy as well as ignorance still remains the desired opium of the masses.

All but smothered by the din of instant gratification, proliferating from millions of instantaneous universes, each saturated with information, advertising and entertainment; it is art, possibly more than any other human endeavour during the second half of the twentieth century, that has lost its voice to the modern rallying cry of a Universality not permitted an identity. Even worse, it has ignored the potential soullessness of a society that can justify the existence of the blameless torturer.

Beneath this political sky against which our suns dawn and set each day, the exquisite multi-textured nature of the human spirit can no longer afford to allow itself to be drowned by such sweeping political sentiment.

The soul has become an endangered species and Art must regain its voice to save humanity from extinction. To help you and I rediscover some semblance of our humanity, these OTHER VOICES INTERNATIONAL POETRY PROJECT writers creatively share the adventures, desires and dreams of the human heart and spirit, wherever it resides. Through this singular poetic voice we can claim unity in our diversity and strive to live in honour of human dignity.

June 2004

OTHER VOICES is listed in the World poetry directory of UNESCO…

He is currently also the International Poetry Editor for Harvest International, an annual arts and literature magazine produced by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Of his own work, he says,

“ … in the end poetry it comes down to hard work; those hours alone placing the scratches of our souls down on the enticing blank glare of the page to capture the ever moving instant now.

It also reminds us that we should follow our hearts. If your poems are honest and the best you can do, what else matters? All the rest is either "icing on the cake" or vanity…”



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Comment by Swami Panama on November 11, 2009 at 8:13pm
Comment by Sean Alan Romanek on July 30, 2009 at 4:47am
A Poets task is this'
to read His Dreams and Comprehendd
Man's truest Fancy seems to be revealed
to Us in Dreams
All Poems and Versing is
But True Dreams Interpretation ~Neitsche
Comment by Larry on December 14, 2008 at 3:41am
Comment by Ananya S Guha on October 22, 2008 at 11:15pm
What is a poem,
if not a poem?
what is love,
if not love,
what is peace,
if not the dove sailing,
spreading wings,
and god laughing...

Ananya S Guha.
Comment by Ananya S Guha on October 22, 2008 at 11:13pm
I believe in poetry for peace. I admire Roger Humes' relentless efforts to bring poetry to a common ground of humanity, transcending all barriers of race, nation, creed and religion. I am pleased to say that my poems apper in: othervoicespoetry.org, volume 12. Have a read!
Love,

Ananya S Guha.
Comment by Sadiq Baig on October 20, 2008 at 7:34am
Iqbal (1877 – 1938), poet, philosopher and politician, whose poetry in Urdu, Arabic and Persian is considered to be among the greatest of the modern era, said of Friedrich Nietzsche:

'AGAR HOTA WO MAJZOOBE FRANGI ES ZAMANEY MEIN,
TO IQBAL OSKE BATLATA SHAANE KIBRYA KIA HAI?

(If that foreign mystic lived today, Iqbal would have told him what the Greatness of God all about is?) I am highly incompetent to depict true meanings by this loose translation - my profound apologies!

The Arabic word "Islam" have many meanings; the most famous one is "peace" and another "submission to the Will of God". Both meanings, rather concepts, are interdependent: one cannot have peace without submission to God and also cannot be at 'peace' unless submits to the will of God (or perhaps natural-friendly life; Islamic teachings not only stress on wide-range of human rights but also preservation and conservation of natural resources - hence environment).

How happy Iqbal would have been on knowing Roger's pursuit if he have been living today - even if not Nietzsche himself there are many such as Roger Humes who profoundly understand the Greatness of God.

Peace is not just a word, not even a concept; it is a movement that can educated ignorant humans of this information era to sublime heights which Humanity really deserve – whatever we believe in religiously and never believe at all, we all are equally Human. And it is the peace which can make us humane too!

Kindest regards. Sadiq

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