I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic
Sabreen Kadhim, a young poet from Baghdad who very much dispels any myths linking poetry with dowdiness and cardigans, was supposed to appear at Reel Iraq earlier this year. However, in its infinite stupidity the UK Border Agency denied her a visa, along with several other artists who was scheduled to perform during the festival.
At last, though, Kadhim has made her way to Edinburgh, and earlier today read at Word Power Books along with Krystelle Bamford (whose chapbook, Mosquitoes, is available here). Not only was their poetry – in Arabic, in translation to English, and in original English – beautiful and moving, but we also got to hear a little about the pain and horror of life in Baghdad and how it helps to shape Kadhim’s poetry. And, despite that, we also got to witness how young women the world over, whatever circumstances they live in, write about love, relationships and how irritating men can be, as well as more melancholy subjects.
Reel Festivals have plans for some of the Arabic, Kurdish, English and Scots poems from Reel Iraq, and the translations in each direction, to be published. That is a collection to be eagerly awaited…
Here, meanwhile, is my first foray into videoing live events (something I wasn’t planning to do until I got an urgent text message about 2 hours before the reading was due to start…). It’s not too horrible! It features Kadhim reading Why Write This Poem and Water My Heart With A Jonquil in their original Arabic, followed by Bamford reading the translation of …Jonquil and then her own poem Wake: