Prose simply wouldn’t do. It doesn’t fit the template they’re striving for, the passionate yet misunderstood “native” who, deprived of his trusty Kalashnikov, vents his outrage at western injustice through the only means available to him — song. Lift up your voice, mighty warrior poet!
The poems were cleared by U.S. military censors, who the lawyers said blocked the release of many others.
A Pentagon spokesman, Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, described the detainees’ poems as “another tool in their battle of ideas against Western democracies against whom they are at war.”
“While a few detainees at Guantanamo have made efforts to author what they purport to be poetry, given the nature of their writings they have seemingly not done so for the sake of art,” he said.
I.e., they suck. But, as with everything else, that’s not their fault:
But is it art? [Detainee attorney Marc] Falkoff said the original cadence may have been lost in translation to English, mostly from Arabic and done by a limited pool of translators granted security clearances by the U.S. military.
The Independent has already started mythologizing them by calling them the “cup poems” after the objects on which they were written, as though they represented some sort of genre or artistic “period.” Coming soon in volume two: the “toothpaste-on-toilet-paper poems.”