In just over a week’s time, on Friday March 22nd at the rich mix arts centre at 7pm, I'll be curating part of the Reel Words event for the Reel Iraq festival, which commemorates the ten year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by evidencing the resilience and diversity of the arts in that country. The event will feature a diverse spectrum of poets from the UK and Iraq, including Ghareeb Iskander,Sabreen Kadhim, Zahir Mousa, Awezan Nouri. The hour I’m curating will be half of the poetry to happen on that night, from around 7.30 on.
Patrick Coyle / Joe Dunthorne / Caleb Klaces / David Berridge / Jon Stone / Kirsty Irving / Nick-e Melville / George Szirtes
"This special event features Iraqi poetry from Ghareeb Iskander,Sabreen Kadhim, Zahir Mousa, Awezan Nouri with new translations from John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, William Letford and Krystelle Bamford. Reel Iraq will also present short readings for Iraq from UK based poets including George Szirtes, Joe Dunthorne, Kirsty Irving,Nick-e Melville and Patrick Coyle. A rare opportunity to hear Iraqi poets, to engage, ask questions and enjoy the riches harvested from translation. Presented in partnership with Maintenant.
This event is the culmination of the Reel Iraq translation project, began in January 2013 when four Scotland-based poets met their Iraqi counterparts in Erbil, Kurdistan for the first time. They had been invited to present new work at the Erbil Literature Festival but, first, had to create new translations of each other’s work. So, before the festival, our Reel Festivals cohort retreated to the tranquility of the Safeen mountains and rolled up their sleeves. As none of the poets were fluent in the other language, it might be more fair to call these poems ‘versions’ – as each poet brought their own sensibilities to the work while maintaining a loyalty to the original poem as detailed by the poets themselves, live and in person. As such, the work we are presenting reveals not just the original poetic intention but the intimacy of understanding and empathy between poets with different cultures and traditions but surprisingly similar concerns."