About Penn Kemp's "poem for peace in two voices"
The "poem for peace in two voices" is a poem with a life of its own.

Penn Kemp wrote the poem in its original English in 2001, days after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. The first version of "Poem for Peace in Two Voices," was published by London publisher Ergo Press. In 2001, it became part of the League of Canadian Poets "Convergence: Poems for Peace" event for which it was presented at the House of Commons in Ottawa as a sound poem. The poem was spontaneously translated into French, then Portuguese, followed soon by several African and European languages and published in "Waging Peace: Poetry and Political Action," Penumbra Press, 2002. These first translations were also published in a series of posters as a contribution to the 2002 Dialogue Through Poetry during UNESCO World Poetry week and National Poetry Month. "Poem for Peace" was carried to the UN in New York in October 2003 and was placed in UN libraries of many delegations.

Kemp says it was "an action plan to promote peace one heart at a time." This action plan seems to be working very well as the poem has been translated into over 100 languages and continues to be translated as the phenomenon spreads.
Penn's "Poem for Peace in Two Voices", translated into French, Sesotho, Spanish, and Portuguese, has been published in the collection "Convergence: Poets for Peace," published by Penumbra Press, 2002.

The poem, with many more translations, has been published in both book form and as an audio CD by Penn Kemp herself with the assistance of her partner Gavin Stairs. Two small print runs of the book and CD have been completed with the intention of creating new volumes as more translations are contributed. Volume 1 and 2 of the book and CD are currently available.

Anyone interested in providing a translation (with a performance for the CD, if possible) are encouraged to contact Penn Kemp or Gavin Stairs. (If you are interested; cardinal can be translated as red bird, and forsythia can be translated as yellow flower or spring flower.) Donations to counter the production costs of the upcoming Volume 3, which is dedicated to including Indigenous translations, are also welcome.

The Poem for Peace video played at the Hot Butter Politics Film Festival. Click here to read more about the festival and to find links to audio files of the translations.
A recent special limited edition of Volume 2 that includes the most current translations is available for sale from Pendas Productions. The most recent edition is illustrated with details from "14 Women," a painting by Bernice Vincent, which is dedicated to the 14 women killed at l'École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

Poem for Peace books and CDs are available at Cdn $15.00 each.


Penn Kemp & Gavin Stairs
Pendas Productions
525 Canterbury Road, London ON N6G 2N5


(These are some of the languages into which the poem has already been translated...)

Afrikaans, Amazonia, Ancient, Anishinaabemowin, Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Chinese (free translation), Cyrillic and Latin, Czech, Czech, Dutch, Egyptian, Elvish (Middle Earth, Runic and Roman), English, Estonian, Ewe, Ewe, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Guarany, Gujarati, Gujarati, Hausa, Hebrew trans-literation, Hebrew, Hindi, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Igpay Atinlay, Irish (Gaeilg), Italian, Japanese, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Korean, Kuna (Central America), Latin, Lingala, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Maltese, Norwegian, Ojibway, Persian (Dari), Persian (Dari), Persian (Farsi), Plautdietsch, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Russian, Serbian, Sesotho, Sesotho, Slovenian, Somali, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tibetan, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish (Hebrew and Roman)
*Note: languages listed twice represent two different translations.