As part of our tenth-anniversary year, we are returning to the “Axis of Evil,” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, the subjects of our first three issues. We begin with Iraq, which has just passed its own ten-year milestone, one of bloody conflict and deadly political strife rather than fiction and poetry. From the Green Zone to a tiny mountain village, in battlefield chaos and domestic upheaval, Luay Hamza Abbas, Abd al-Khaliq al-Rikabi, Muhsin al-Ramli, Sinan Antoon, Ali Bader, Hassan Blasim, Sargon Boulus, Duna Ghali, Mahmoud Saeed, Salima Saleh, and Najem Wali record not only the decade of war but its effects on the home front. In our special section, we present reportage from Iraq by Algeria's Mustapha Benfodil and Poland's Mariusz Zawadzki. This issue is funded in part by a private foundation.


Reportage from Iraq

A Vacation in Basra

I have forged papers saying I am an aid worker.

The Last Six Days of Baghdad

They know that if they enter the city, we’ll eat them alive.

Book Reviews

Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”

For her nineteenth book, "Life Form," Nothomb has applied her preternaturally original mind to two favorite subjects—writing and “superhunger”

The One-Eyed TV

This is how our village acquired its own Rambo and Tarzan.


He lies silently and calmly in the hole, waiting for it to be filled in.

Music in a Baghdad Alley

If you wish to sleep with me / In her dirt-filled arms

The Arab Altar

She exploded, “So why isn’t she pregnant yet?"

A Butterfly in New York

Its wings two leaves / falling from heaven

The Mulberry Tree

Muhammad had returned from the dead, resurrected from the bones that had sunk in the well.

Your Body Journeyed Off

Your body becomes my carry-on bag.