Journeys for Justice, Poems for Peace

Journeys for Justice, Poems for Peace
Submitted Photo Moshe Newmark will be the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective featured writer for February.

Submitted Photo
Moshe Newmark will be the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective featured writer for February.

Nearly 50 years ago, Moshe Newmark, recently out of the University of Miami’s mass communications program, began a World Brotherhood Peace tour of the world. After stops in several world capitals, he arrived in India, which he says was like coming home. He departed the tour and stayed in South Asia for an extended period, on his own in that vibrant place (which I have never visited). It changed his life, and in a real way, that Peace tour is still going on.

Moshe Newmark will be the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective featured writer for February. The program begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville. Words and refreshments will be available for purchase, and there is no cover charge. The community is invited.

Newmark’s life and his poetry can be meditations on that first trip to India or, later, dodging automatic weapons fire in Nicaragua during the Contra War of the 1980s. He has promoted concerts with some of Rastafarian reggae greats, and he raises money for humanitarian projects with his wife, Hamsa, to help refugee children and their families in Syria. He draws from a deep well of life and world experience to speak out against injustice, to sing praises for his heroes and to describe the places he loves with a passion.

For example, from “Frozen in Syria,” written about a year ago, his description is stark:

“On mornings such as this / When the sky stretches down / Moist and gray / A shiver slides through / My cracked glass window / Pained / Feeling a night lost cold to bone sap / Where children whimper to the stars / Their cries / Like droplets of fog rising / Up to heaven / Stone and deaf

“On mornings such as this the hollow consumes me / The growing void my heart once filled / Now echoes / A beat / Humanities drum / Now in hasty retreat from all that is fair / That is good …”

Given that expression of sadness, concern and care, it is easy enough to picture Newmark deeply engaged in the present tragedy in Syria. And the non-profit that he and his wife, Hamsa, have established — Bridge of Peace — is just that. They raise money here and nationwide, and contract with friends in Syria to drill wells for fresh water and build houses for shelter. The Bridge of Peace website is at or connect on Facebook at And Newmark has recently traveled to Turkey, as close as one can get these days to where their work is being done, most recently 14 new houses built.

Another project that Newmark is involved with is the Omni Center’s new community radio station, KPSQ, soon to be on the air in Fayetteville at 97.3 FM. Local musicians, personalities and events will be the station’s mission, as well as “political opinions not typically represented in mass media,” according to Omni’s website, Newmark’s background in mass communications in general and radio in particular makes him a player in KPSQ’s future.

Please join the Ozarks Poets and Writer’s Collective as we welcome Moshe Newmark to Nightbird’s lectern. Before and after his reading, the microphone will be open for members of the community to share their prose, poetry, memoir or what-have-you with a friendly and encouraging audience. (An open mic, of course, is at times a bit rough and not for kids.) Please join us at the bookshop on the last Tuesday evening of every month.

Categories: Music