Poetry is not a Crime

Join over 150 renowned writers, poets, translators, editors, artists, public intellectuals and cultural workers.

These signers, from Alice Walker and Claudia Rankine to Naomi Klein and Jacqueline Woodson, represent some of the most respected individuals in the arts and literary worlds. For the list of signers, please scroll down.

Dareen Tatour has been charged with incitement to violence based on a poem posted to YouTube. She is one of over 400 Palestinians arrested in the last year for their expressions of resistance to the Israeli Occupation over social media.

She had her first court hearing last month, charged by Israel for Facebook postings and a poem posted to YouTube called “Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum” (Resist my people, resist them).

We believe in the rights of artists and writers to openly express their artistic vision and share work freely. The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians.

Expressing resistance to oppression and Occupation through poetry is by nature non-violent and should not be criminalized by any government.

We, the undersigned – writers, artists, and people of conscience from around the world – believe that poetry is not a crime. We are calling for poet and activist Dareen Tatour to be released immediately from house arrest and for all charges to be dropped.

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6486 Total Signers

Who Is Dareen?

Poetry is not a crime. Dareen Tatour awaits a hearing while under house arrest for reciting her poetry.
Over 150 writers and literary artists have signed a letter of support for her, can you? International outcry is critical.


Posted by Jewish Voice for Peace on Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour was arrested on October 11th, and has been detained ever since. Her crime? Poetry. A poem of Tatour’s was posted on Youtube, and her reading of another poem at a Women’s Day commemoration in Nazareth.

Tatour spent the first three months of her detention in three prisons – Kishon, Damon and Hasharon. She was then transferred to house arrest, but the court insisted that she be kept 40 km away from her home because of the ‘danger’ she posed to the public.

This outrage cannot stand, and we are pressuring the Israeli government to free her with a sign-on letter from writers, poets, and artists.

Signers represent some of the most respected and renowned individuals in the arts and literary worlds including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, fourteen recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, an NAACP Image Award winner, many Lambda Literary Award winners, and scores of recipients of the highest U.S. writing, translation, and arts honors: including Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, PEN/Open Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Kenyon Review Award, Pushcart Awards, LA Times Book Awards, and MLA Prizes.


Over 150 renowned writers, poets, translators, editors, artists, public intellectuals and cultural workers are calling for Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour’s release from house arrest. All identifications and affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsements by any institutions.

Aaminah Shakur
Artist & Poet

Achmat Dangor
Novelist & Poet
Former CEO inter alia of Nelson Mandela Foundation; recipient of the South African Literary Awards (SALA) 2015 Lifetime Achieve Award

Adam Shatz
London review of Books; formerly The Nation

Ahdaf Soueif
Novelist and Translator
Works include: In the Eye of the Sun; The Map of Love; I Think of You and Stories of Ourselves

Aja Monet
Works include Inner-City Chants & Cyborg Cyphers; Youngest individual to win the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe Grand Slam title

Alex Zucker
English PEN Award for Writing in Translation; Typographical Translation Award; National Translation Award; NEA Literature Fellowshop

Alice Walker
Poet and Novelist
Works include: The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, Once, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; National Book Award for Fiction; Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters

Alisa Solomon
Author, Teacher, Dramaturg
Author of Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of ‘Fiddler on the Roof”

Alison Kinney
Author of Hood (Object Lessons)

Allan Kolski Horwitz
Poet, Playwright, Musician

Alma ganihar
Winner of Best Fringe Play 2008, the Arab-Hebrew Theater

Ammiel Alcalay
Poet, Translator, Professor
Queens College / Graduate Center, CUNY

Amos Gvirtz
Activist, Author
Founder, a founder of Israelis and Palestinians for Non-Violence, chairperson, Committee Against Home Demolitions

Andrew Spieldenner
Hofstra University

Anne Germanacos
In the Time of the Girls

Arun Kundnani
The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror

Ashraf Kagee
Author & Academic
Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Winner of the European Union Literary Award in 2012 and the South African Literary Award in 2013 for the novel Khalil’s Journey.

Askold Melnyczuk
Works include: What Is Told; Ambassador of the Dead; House of Widows and Excerpt from Smedley’s Secret Guide to World Literature

Asti Hustvedt
Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris

Aurora Levins Morales
JVP Artists Council. Works include: Getting Home Alive; Medicine Stories; Remedios; Kindling: Writings on the Body

Ayelet Waldman
Works include Love and Treasure; Red Hook Road; and New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace

Barbara Hammer
Winner of Teddy Award for Best Short Films, Shirley Clarke Avant-Garde Filmmaker Award, Women In Film Award 2006 from the St. Louis International Film Festival

Ben Ehrenrich
Journalist National Magazine Award

Bill Clegg
Literary Agent
Did You Ever Have a Family

Bob Shacochis
Winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and National Book Award for First Work of Fiction

Bongani Kona
Shortlisted for Caine Prize for African Writing

Brenda Hillman
Poet, Translator, Professor
Olivia C. Professor of Poetry, Saint Mary’s College of California. Winner of the LA Times Book Award for Poetry; the Griffin Poetry Prize; Northern California Book Award; Recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships

Burhan Sönmez
Works include North; Sins and Innocents; and Istanbul, Istanbul. Recipient of the Sedat Simavi Literature Prize

Cara Page
Organizer & Writer
Executive Director, Audre Lorde Project

Carl Dennis
Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. Works include Another Reason; Callings; Practical Gods; and Meetings with Time

Carolyn Forché
Poet, Editor, Translator
Director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Lannan Chair in Poetry at Georgetown University. Works include Gathering the Tribes, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness; and The Angel of History. Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award

Casey Llewellyn
Writer and theater maker

Chaitali Sen

Chavisa Woods
Fiction writer, Poet, Performance Artist
The Albino Album

Chris Mann
Emeritus Professsor of Poetry, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Cheryl Clarke
Living As A Lesbian

Christian Hawkey
Ventrakl. Founder and director of Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing program

Claudia Rankine
Playwright Works include Citizen: An American Lyric. Winner, National Book Critics Circle Award; PEN/Open Book Award; PEN/Open Book Award; Los Angeles Times Book Prize; NAACP Image Award; Forward Prize

Colin Dayan
Awards include Danforth, NEH and Guggenheim fellowships

Corey Robin
Professor of Political Science
Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center

Dale Peck
Author, Critic
Works include Sprout. Winner of Lambda Literary Award; Finalist for the Stonewall Book Award. Recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship

Daphne Muse
Writer, Social Commentator and Poet

Darcey Steinke
Works include Up Through the Water; Suicide Blonde; Jesus Saves; and Milk

Darrah Cloud

Dave Eggers
Writer, Editor, Publisher
Works include A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Awards includie PEN Center USA Award of Honor, The New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books, Publishers Weekly’s Best Books, an American Book Award, and two Los Angeles Times Book Awards