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World Leaders' Favourite Poems

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Table of Contents

ContentsIntroduction by Micheline Calmy-ReyPreface by Mehmet BasciThe PoemsGordon BrownThe Hands of Others - James StockingerChandrika Bandaranaike KumaratungaPity the Nation - Kahlil GibranStjepan MesicSmall Fruit Tree after Rain - Dobrisa CesaricLudwig Derangadage ScottyPinnacles Exposed - President Ludiwg ScottyDr Ian PaisleyI Must Go On - Pastor James Kyle PaisleyCarlos Diego Mesa GisbertThe Game of Chess - Jorge Luis BorgesIlham Heydar oglu AliyevAzerbaijan - Samad VurgunPascal CouchepinDevotions Upon Emergent Occasions - John DonneMatti VanhanenThe Squirrel - Aleksis KiviAPJ Abdul KalamThe Life Tree - APJ Abdul KalamSam NujomaComrade Sam Nujoma - Mvula ya NangoloNestor KirchnerThe Just - Jorge Luis BorgesGuy VerhofstadtThis - Fernando PessoaGerry AdamsLake Isle of Innisfree - William Butler YeatsGerhard Fritz Kurt Schroder & Jean-Claude JunckerThe Panther - Rainer Maria RilkeJose Maria Aznar LopezIf - Rudyard KiplingDr Abdul Hamid PawantehOde: Intimations of Immortality From Recollectionsof Early Childhood - William WordsworthTony BlairThe Soldier - Rupert BrookeVicente FoxSweet Land - Ramon Lopez VelardeHans Goran PerssonThe Path on Which You are Walking Alone - Par LagerkvistRhodri MorganPwllderi - Dewi EmrysAriel SharonWe are Both from the Same Village - Naomi ShemerAnders Fogh RasmussenLiving in the Moment - Piet Hein

About the Author

Mehmet Basci was born in 1979 in Pazarcik, a small town in the county of Kahraman Maras, in Turkish Kurdistan.In 1992 he left for Switzerland. He played soccer at FCB (Basel), with a potentially promising professional career until a bad injury in 1996 forced him to quit. In 2000 he published a Romance novel and in 2003 a poetry bookIn 2003 he started a worldwide project about prime ministers and presidents most favourite poems He is living in Basel.


Diary NotesSo what about the cultural tastes of the politicians who make immigration policy? Welsh publisher Parthian has just announced World Leaders' Favourite Poems compiled by Mehmet Basci, A Turkish Kurd now living in Switzerland who spent five years tracking down the poetic choices of national leaders with the admirably idealistic aim of reflecting "on our common hopes, fears and pleasures". Of course, some in office when he began, such as Tony Blair (Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier"), are no longer so. But Gordon Brown demonstrates the awesome scope of executive power in his choice of a poem by the American James Stockinger, which he often quotes in speeches: "The hands of other people lift us from the womb. / The hands of other people grow the food we eat, / weave the clothes we wear and / build the shelters we inhabit." When told of Brown's choice, Stockinger was flattered, but he also felt duty-bound to explain that the - slightly misquoted - lines were actually from his doctoral thesis and not a poem at all. But if the prime minister says it's a poem ... Stockinger authorized a few judicious carriage returns and what was prose is now officially verse in the new anthology.Nick Wroe, Guardian Review Saturday 15 March 2008

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