Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

‘Perhaps This Poem Has No End’: Reel Iraq in Edinburgh

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My guest blog for ArabLit on Saturday’s ‘Found in Translation’ Iraqi/Scottish poetry event at the Scottish Poetry Library:

Despite Sabreen Kadhim’s absence, we did get one of her poems, “on the universal theme of unreliable boyfriends,” read by Bamford again: “I’ve lost myself in your dent on the sofa… has the wick blackened or was it never lit?” The final Iraqi poet was Ghareeb Iskander, paired with Jen Hadfield and John Glenday. As if to emphasise the global sweep of literary links and meanings, Iskander’s ‘On Whitman’ was a meditation on ‘three types of grass’ – Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’, the ‘grass of eternity’ from the Epic of Gilgamesh and “the grass of exile which you watch growing alone.” The stern, graceful despairing imagery of Iskander’s work, drawing on the ancient myths of Iraq, was perhaps a fitting ending to Found in Translation. “Uruk is an empty ruin… not a single tree… even the darkness burns” Glenday read, paying tribute to the “effortless music” of Iskander’s voice.

The full article is here.

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