This month we present writing by Kurdish authors. Writers from the various regions and dialects of Kurdistan consider questions of nation, language, and identity, providing fresh perspectives on this ancient culture and its contemporary conflicts. Bakhtiyar Ali describes an assassin's tipping point. On her deathbed, Yavuz Ekinci's widow remembers the true love of her youth. Murathan Mungan draws on the Kurdish oral tradition. Alber Sabanoglu surveys recent writing about the history of Kurds in Turkey. Prominent poet Abdulla Pashew blends political and personal longing, then discusses the moral power of poetry with Ziad Rashad. Murat Özyaşar feels a shock of recognition. Kajal Ahmad delineates a politics of the body, Hama Jaza aches for freedom, and Jamal Khambar mourns the victims of honor killings. In our special section of Polish literary reportage, Paweł Smoleński interviews a painter in Iraqi Kurdistan, Witold Szablowski tours a Banga shipyard, and Andrzej Stasiuk explores Kyrgyzstan. And in the third installment of  "Spirit Summoning," Sakumi Takama's fake mediums get a real surprise.

Fiction Serial

Polish Literary Reportage

Painting the Occupation

They locked him up for being a Kurd.

The Ship-breakers

"If there’s an accident here, a hard hat won’t help."

Kyrgyzstan: Shade and Shadow

Armies always leave a mess behind.

Book Reviews

Albert Cossery’s “Laziness in the Fertile Valley”

In a musty, cavernous house, three brothers, their father, and uncle sleep through day and night. The men can scarcely eat without falling back to sleep. The sunlight insults their eyes and even the...


You had no name when we met / we did not notice it wasn’t there


I will make my skin your flag.

The Poetry of Truth: An Interview with Abdulla Pashew

With the process of democratization the role of poetry has been curtailed.

Mirror Shock

If you look in the mirror too long it hits you.

Separation from Earth

My hair / Became a belt around the Earth’s waist.

If You See Fatima

Say, after her death, we lit our epic poems on fire.

Sudden Sorrow

Sorrow becomes my guest, in the square frame of my room