http://scenestr.com.au/arts/queensland-poetry-festival-judith-wright-centre-review-20170903 a link to a review about QPF that includes Writing Through Fences.

WRITING THROUGH FENCES at the Queensland Poetry Festival 2017

We acknowledge that our voices, and some of us, are travelling to Yugerra Yugembul country, having passed through various other countries in this continent and world. We acknowledge your ongoing cultures and languages and offer out respect to all your peoples, Elders past, present and future.

This beautiful art work which will feature throughout our various events is by Mahmoud Salameh.  Thank you again for your constant support and inspiration Mahmoud.


art work, Same Moon by Mahmoud Salameh

Through The Moon – Saturday 26th August 2017
1pm – 2pm
BEMAC Level 1 102 Main St Kangaroo Point

with Juan Garido Salgado, Hani Abdile, Ahmad Aeinjamshid, Ahlam Moahamed, Ibtisam Ahmed,  Jenell Quinsee, Nick Theodoropoulos,


Farhad Bandesh, Kaveh, Maria, Kazem, Boush, Abdi, Areqou, Lilla, Jajee, Sajjad, Farhad, Rajan, Sri, Moh, Rahman, Sabaa, Milad, A., Iqbal, Ali, Mohammad, Janet

Through the Moon is a weaving of poetry, words, conversations,  song and music from members of Writing Through Fences – including those who are held hostage in off-shore and on-shore prison camps, and in limbo in Indonesia and in community in Australia.  Here we find resistance and the affirmation of life through creation and relationship.

Poetry and Displacement Panel – Saturday 26th August 2017
2:30pm-3:30pm BEMAC

Members of Writing Through Fences will speak a little of poetry and displacement and then invite questions from the audience.

Please be mindful of your questions. We are here to present and speak about our work. We hope you will respect us and limit your questioning to the relevant topics rather than our private lives.

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art – IMA Screening Room, 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley

AN INVITATION: We hope you watch and listen deeply – as you would with any encounter with any artist or art work – and, importantly, that you listen with a desire to listen openly, not for what you expect but to allow yourself to be absorbed, slashed, challenged by something other than what you expect.

1. Moz from Manus: Rap with video clip: ‘All the same’ with Artists Against Detention

2. Aziz (check out his collaborative award winning podcast ‘The Messenger’) with Michael Green and Behind The Wire
‘Daily Dreams’written and spoken by Abdul Aziz Muhammat (Manus Island) recorded and produced by Michael Green, Through The Wire.

3.’ Who I am’ written and performed by Hani Abdile recorded and produced by Christopher Miles

4. ‘Writing Through Fences’ for ABC by Jane Curtis

5. 11pm , 11 December 2015, Australia’s black site on Nauru
‘Violence against women is one of the great shames of Australia’
PM Turnbull March 8, 2016 written by Maya (psuedonym) and Janet Galbraith. Production by Hannah Patchett

6. ‘We need you’, written and spoken by Ibtisam Ahmed, art work by Iqbal. Production: Jane Curtis

‘Resisting Silence: Poetry and stories from Australia’s political prisoners’. An Empty Chair Sound installation. Sunday 27th August, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art 
From four years on bunk beds in Manus refugee detention prison camp, the streets and detention camps of Indonesia and Malaysia, the prison camps on Nauru, in Brisbane and Melbourne, men, women and children have storied and mapped some of the most intimate impacts of nation building in Australia, nation building that occurs on their bodies.
1. I am 67 years old
Thank you to Farhad Shah who worked closely with a woman from Burma to write down her story as she requested and send to Writing Through Fences. The woman’s story is voiced by Janet Galbraith.
2. Lina – Friendship.  Thank you to Michael Green and Through The Wire for recording and production.
3. Imran Mohammed – Four years in a bunk bed. Recorded by Imran Mohammed.  Production by Rose Ertler.
4. Amir Taghinia – Multilingual Negotiations. Recorded by Amir Taghinia. Production by Rose Ertler.


Some of WTF members have been invited to read from Writing to the Wire Sun 27 Aug 5pm Judith Wright Shopfront, free

Hani Abdile has been invited to read at Voices of Colour Multilingual Slam Sunday 27 Aug Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art

Janet Galbraith will be reading (via distance) at The Day is Here: Poetry + Spoken Word Sat 26 Aug 4-5pm Judith Wright Screening Room, free

If you were not able to pick up a copy of  I Will Rise or Our Beautiful Voices at the event, you can buy on line at the Shop

Blog 3 from Imran on Manus

Imran Mohammad won the 2017 Amnesty International blog competition. He is an astonishing young writer who has been imprisoned in Australia’s prison camp in Manus Province PNG for almost 4 years now. You can find his work published in the Age, on the Amnesty website and as part of Writing Through Fences publications. His booklet detailing life in the prison camp is to be launched in the next months. Here we feature Imran’s latest blog. Please read on.

‘My relatives walked over 5,000 kilometers to reach Saudi Arabia’


Why not our life?


(image via angelfire@deviantart.com)

Yesterday I went to play soccer. After we finished we took some rest. The security officer told us: ‘Everyone go back to the compound’. I told him “I am waiting for the moon’. He said, ‘There is the moon, you can see, look up’. I saw the moon it was very big, looked beautiful. I looked and smiled at the moon and I asked the moon, ‘You light over the world so brightly. Why not our life? How long will we live in this darkness?’ The moon smiled at me and said, ‘Wait patiently please! I look around the world then I come to you’.

But still I don’t know how long it will take.

I feel restless.

  • Rahman (Manus Island August 2016)

A long dusty road

Here is the work of a man who was incarcerated on Manus for 2 years.  He returned under pressure to his country of origin only to have to flee again.  We have kept in contact and he remains part of Writing Through Fences.  Here is some of his story.


image from hemantsoreng.com

Confusing life

I and a dusty road and a cloudy sky.

I and a long dusty road and a dark cloudy sky.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows where is it’s end.

I and a cloudy sky, nobody knows whether it will get rainy or not.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows how long it takes to get to the end of it.

I and a cloudy sky, nobody knows when it will be stormy or what will happen

to me and dusty road.

Maybe we will get green, maybe we will get puddle.

I and a dusty road, nobody knows whether I can get to the end of it or not.

Maybe we will become friends,

maybe we will finally part.

– M.

I am not a poet but these poems sometimes come to my mind and I can write them.  Not really my mind, they come from my heart.

Thinking about my destination… I came from other side of the world and I came through many countries to get to your country and I couldn’t.  They banished me to PNG, to that prison camp – worse than prison camp.  I went back to my country and had to run away again, to cross many countries again.  I climbed mountains, walked so far, was packed like sheep in a container for 12 hours, took taxi’s, walked so far, slept on streets in freezing rain, boats, camps, sleeping on the wet ground, sometimes in tents, much – too much walking, travelled on buses, walked so far, waited for long times stuck on bridges.

Some days we just had 2 pieces of bread.  I lost too much weight.

When I ran away I was not thinking where I would go. I just had to run away. Now. Run. During 3 years, since I first ran away, and then this second time, I crossed more than 15 countries.

Somedays, yes I get depressed because when I think about future, what will happen…  I am not young and I don’t have time for another journey – and I am a little bit tired now!

I know this country can accept me but do they want to or not?  They can, but will they?

Sometimes I think my life has been wasted.  On the other side I say to myself: Hey boy, you are trying to help yourself and many people don’t have the opportunity you have.

I have faced many kinds of people in my life.  Here, I find that people are kind.  They look at you with open face. Maybe they will accept me.  Maybe this big sky will make a storm again and I will have to stay friends with long dusty road.  Nobody knows if I can get to a destination or not.  I don’t know the answer.  I hope that someone will help me solve these problems, that they will accept me and I can stay here in a peaceful place and let go of that dusty road.

– M.


This writer from Bangladesh has been incarcerated in Manus Island detention prison for 3 years.

Read and share his beautifully heartbreaking words.


image by scrapper9000

Nature Breaks

Sometimes nature breaks down into a hundred thousand pieces

when she sees our sorrow.

But no-one realises this.

When security gives us trouble we wait patiently and look at the sky,

for nature to gives us inspiration and sympathy for our lives.

Peace is hiding from us.

There is too much distance between peace and where we are.


Of Youth

Youth is like summer flowers.

Suddenly it withers away.


  • words by Rahman (Manus Island)

What Matters – Feature Story

A message from Eaten Fish and Dismal Manus

eaten fish and dismal manus



Where is the freedom and flight?


They sign the swallow’s migration as forbidden,

surround the disordered sky with fences,

whip its wings.

Is this his only right?


When will the celebration of paper and words be?


An unsolved conundrum in a cup of tea!

They cross out the forbidden answer

and burn paper and words simultaneously.

Is this our only right?


In this wounded body,

covering its sick soul

they sign ‘forbidden’ on the flower petals,

they burn its stems.


Yes, all my rights are the light of a lantern’s flame taken from me.

They sign ‘forbidden’ on my kind moon

They burn stars and night.


When will the celebration of paper and words be seen?

  • M. 2015


On Peace: A letter to Australia


copyright WTF.

On Peace: A letter to Australia

I didn’t run from my country to come and destroy yours.
I came here to join you.
Because we both want the same “peace”
I have chosen to run
so they don’t push me
use me for their criminal plans..

I didn’t want to be victim to their goals
I am here to be united with everyone who is seeking peace

so we can be more numbers than them.
All we want is a world full of joy and peace.

That is not gonna happen if you don’t start believing in me.
I have made that choice

I came here without knowing if you will believe me or not
If you will trust me or not.
No matter what the results are

I will not regret that I have chosen to come here.

I will not regret

I have chosen peace.


  • written by I.

Hodan Macanto

This week we are featuring work by Macanto Hodan : Sisters of Hodan.  This group of women are also members of Writing Through Fences.


  • Friend and boat mate of Hodan’s



My dear Hodan caady

I’m thinking of you macnto

one day your life will turn around

your silence will make a sound

you will breathe fresh air

and you will speak loud

sing and roar louder than a lion

and those who imprisoned you will realize

they can no longer dumb your voice.

  • Hani Abdile




Falcon my friend i need your help, please fly,
fly up high, above the ocean, and give my message 💌 to Hodan,
You seek no permission,
You need no ID
You are well protected,
You won’t be harmed,
Carry my 💌 and fly,
Fly up high above Dutton,
We are grieving do not greet him he’s greedy,

🇭🇴🇩🇦🇳 💌🌷

Whisper on her ear and say,
Macanto we love you,
Macanto we need you here,
Macanto don’t leave,
Macanto we care,
Macanto we are here ,
Macanto you’re never alone
Macanto we hear you,
Macanto you’re brave,
Macanto you’re strong,
Macanto you’re amazing,
Macanto you’re beautiful,
Macanto Angels are watching,
Macanto God will heal you,
Macanto can you hear me ?
Macanto i gotta leave before the nurse comes,
May God be with you….
By Maria






‘Hodan bad’weynta burahaan daraada baafin ka dayaaye ,
hadiyaanan bari arag beerka iyo wadnaha iyo qalbiga basaaso baryi waayey awga. Baaqenu wuxu yahey Hodan qurux wanaagey Hodan taan jecleenen barito bogsan.

The following English translation is a rough summary.

The ocean and the mountains could save your heart and keep you alive but Australia couldn’t. Your heart will recover because you are beautiful, Hodan.