Poems from Iraq
Edited by Lauren Pyott and Ryan Van Winkle
Four award-winning UK poets come together with four Iraqi poets to create a truly unforgettable anthology that sheds new light on real lives in contemporary post-war Iraq.
UK poets Jen Hadfield, winner of the TS Eliot Prize, Billy Letford, Krystelle Bamford and John Glenday collaborate with four contemporary Iraqi poets, including acclaimed Zahir Mousa, Sabreen Kadhim, Ghareeb Iskander and Kurdish Iraqi, Awezan Nouri. Working with literal translations of the Arabic and Kurdish poems, the English language poets have created new ‘versions’, startling works that channel the anger, fear, hurt, hope, joy and fragile optimism of the originals, reconnecting readers with the realities of real life in post-invasion Iraq, far beyond the banalities of cyclical western media stories.
‘What if it was our culture, our country that was invaded?’ is the question asked. This Room is Waiting fashions an extraordinary portrait of a country rebuilding after war.
'These Iraqi and UK poets transcend national borders and fashion our small world into one that is beautiful, inhabitable and full of verve and surprise.'
Malu Halasa, author of The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie: Intimacy and Design and Transit Tehran: Young Iran and Its Inspirations
'From a series of workshops in the Kurdish countryside come these crystalline poems, the yield of conversations and wordcrafting in Kurdish, Arabic, English and Scots, poems emerging from each other, building on each other, speaking each other’s language. Reel Iraq’s initiative, bringing these poets together, has enriched us through a project where translation is only the beginning of creation.'
Professor Marilyn Booth (Iraq Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies)
'What This Room is Waiting gets completely right is selecting poems that carefully assess the two cultures that the poets represent. The poets' culture and experience shines through the poems, but there's also a sense of connection based on the shared experience of writing and translating together... Poetry might sometimes seem inconsequential, but the poems in this book prove that poetry can connect even the most unlikely souls.' Structo Magazine
'This Room Is Waiting is constantly bringing new things to the surface, conjuring up new ideas, new viewpoints and experimental flavours... a varied and elegant collection that presents a fresh and surprising view of Iraq as a country.'
'a ground-breaking anthology'
Publication date: 28th April 2014
Format: 198x129mm, paperback, 128pp