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January 2014

Kurdish Literature

Image: Bahman Ghobadi, Rhino Season. Dir. Bahman Ghobadi. Mij Film, 2012.

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.

The Beginnings of Ja’far-i-Magholi and Hasan Tofan

If one day you become a murderer, don't try to find out much about your victims.

from “The Lost Lands of Paradise”

Aram's mutilated body on that tree had grown larger and larger in my mind.


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


Breaking the Taboo: Turkish Writers Face the Kurdish Past

"We were forced by the state itself to take sides."


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


Book Reviews

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The Queer Issue XII

Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania

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