‘Lighting Our Darkness’ is the eighteenth issue of the Double Dialogues journal, but the first to be dedicated to a ‘dialogue’ between local and international artists with a bi-lingual approach.
The issue, dedicated to poetic exchanges, was spurred by two disparate events.
The first related to a group of Melbourne and Geelong poets giving a reading of their work devoted to the theme of “light on our darkness” in Melbourne, Australia, in June 2015.
The second event, at a time of ruthlessly imprisoning refugees in off-shore concentration camps by Australia, was a haunting recollection of the Chinese proverb, “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”.
This was the proverb that led to Diana Devora Redhouse’s image of a candle in barbed wire which was chosen as Amnesty International’s first Christmas card in 1963.
Seven ‘local’ poets were invited to participate, after which two translators were approached to see if they could suggest and work with some non-English-speaking poets whose work might also connect with the theme: be it aurally or lexically, metaphorically or thematically.
The project grew to encompass sixteen poets who collectively provide us with an arresting glimpse of an inter-generational group of English-, French-, and Polish-speaking writers from two continents.
The poetry moves between the implicitly political and the intensely personal, the quietly meditative and the violently aggressive, the momentarily fragile and the patently visceral: each poet, in Paul Celan’s words, carrying his or her “existence into language, racked by reality and in search of it.”