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Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: H Sinno

H Sinno x Reform The Funk

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve by Alfredo Jaar offers a powerful reflection on the limits of language and the role of creative expression in times of tragedy. A lament for today’s darkness and a call to find the words to confront these tragic hours, the bold new public intervention displays the arresting title of a poem by Adrienne Rich (1929–2012), a figure of inspiration for Jaar since the 1980s, who observed the limits of words in times of unthinkable violence: “no poetry can serve to mitigate such acts, they nullify language itself,” she wrote in 2011. Throughout November 2023, Alfredo Jaar and CIRCA commissioned a series of poetic dialogues, curated by Vittoria de Franchis, from international writers, thinkers and speakers. Giving voice to those who find themselves silenced or without words, the poems hope to achieve Rich’s ambition that creative expression can reconcile conflicting realities.


We are going through a very repressive moment, when nuance is lost and free speech is threatened. But I strongly believe that the spaces of art and culture must remain spaces of freedom. Artists will not be intimidated. In this environment, I have turned to the words of anti-war campaigner and poet Adrienne Rich to reflect both the limits of language and the frustration felt by many that voices for peace and justice cannot sound out as clearly as we wish. And, as part of the CIRCA commission, I am turning to today’s poets, writers, and artists, to support a forum for creative expression where the clear-sighted demands of humanity and empathy can be heard. In these times when politics have failed us miserably, art and culture are our only hope. Art is like the air we breathe, without art, life would be unlivable. Art creates spaces of resistance, spaces of hope.


Resentments: Community Guidelines for Twitter Poetry by H Sinno


at the beirut port

at the beirut port i took

a ship to haifa.

at the beirut port i took a ship to haifa to meet a boy i had been talking to ever since i was twenty two and those were the last days of myspace and he sent me a picture of himself in bed reading friedrich engels in a tuxedo because he liked my lyrics and i met his parents and they didn’t like me much because they said i spoke too much and i fought too much about too much with too much intensity, but that was fine and everything was fine and everything was a little boring sometimes and we went to the beach and then there was sand in my ears and sand in my butt as we walked around the market to buy kites but instead i spent all the money on cheap candy that didn’t taste like much other than sugar because even the candy was a little boring and then at night we drove to a gay bar in ramallah and i played some songs and read some poems and made enough money to cover the cost of the trip and a year later his parents had warmed up to me because they liked the way i cooked my moloukhieh and they drove up to beirut to meet my mother and ask her for my hand for their son and the wedding was a modest little affair and we prayed in al aqsa and the carpets smelled like feet and no one stole our slippers and then we drank jallab in a little coffee shop close by and because i am “that expat,” the scent of jasmine was so heavy that i felt i could stick my hand and pluck it out of the air and it was the 14th of june and sarah flew over from cairo to join us and she went fishing and came back with dinner and my uncles lit fireworks to celebrate and no one panicked and the sound didn’t make anyone shake and we built a life for ourselves between beirut and haifa and it didn’t hurt to breathe at eid el fitr and it didn’t hurt to breathe at christmas and it didn’t hurt to breathe at pride 

and i never left 

because there was never a 

damned reason to leave and



Hand-signed limited edition print by Alfredo Jaar, £120+VAT. Proceeds will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders. Available here.




Hamed Sinno is a composer, writer, performer, and social justice advocate. Their research explores the vocal organ and digital vocality as sites of political negotiation. H writes, and lectures about popular culture as engaged practice. They have been the lyricist and front-person for Mashrou Leila since 2008, agitating conversations around representational politics, free speech, and sexual freedoms in the Middle East. H has a BFA from the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut, and an MA in Digital Musics from Dartmouth College. Their debut full-length opera, Westerly Breath, was in development at The Industry Los Angeles, and will open at the New York Met Museum in January 2024.Their solo debut, Poems of Consumption, explores the overlaps of consumerism, mental illness, and environmental crisis. Poems of Consumption debuted at London’s Barbican Centre in July 2023.