MIAMI (Reuters) - Poems written by Guantanamo prisoners about their lives as captives of the United States have been compiled in a book that will be published this summer with an endorsement from a former U.S. poet laureate.
"Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak" is being published by the University of Iowa Press and will hit the shelves by August, the publisher said. The 84-page volume was assembled by lawyers representing captives held as suspected terrorists at the much-criticized U.S. Navy base in Cuba.
Marc Falkoff, an assistant law professor at Northern Illinois University who has represented 17 Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo, compiled the poems. He said most expressed religious faith, nostalgia for childhood homes or yearning for family.
Others are angry, disillusioned or questioning, like one written as a conversation with the surrounding sea.
"Do our chains offend you? ... You are taunting us in our captivity," Falkoff read from a poem in a telephone interview. "I want to dive into you and swim back to my home."
"He's saying, 'I'm stuck here on a prison island and you, the sea, are being complicit with my captors and guarding me.'"
Some of the poems were originally scratched out with pebbles on foam cups that came with prisoners' meals, got confiscated by guards and were rewritten from memory after the prisoners were released, Falkoff said. Others were written by captives among the 375 still at Guantanamo.