http://www.reorientmag.com/2013/04/reel-iraq/ "Reel Words, an evening of poetry in translation, was but a small element of the Reel Festivals lineup. This year’s festival, Reel Iraq, was comprised of a series of cultural events marking the ten-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by US and UK forces. Dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, America and Britain’s stated mission was to liberate the Iraqi people from despotism, and disarm Saddam Hussein of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Serving as a poignant reminder of the consequences of the invasion, Reel Iraq brought the nation’s cultural sphere to the forefront, exploring Iraqi contributions to art, culture, and creative expression in the UK, during a time of conflict and unrest. Featuring film, art exhibitions, poetry readings, and concerts, as well as panel discussions with audiences across the UK, the festival not only celebrated cultural diversity, but also provided a forum for people to reflect on the suffering and hardship endured by the people of Iraq during the past decade.
Hosted by Ryan Van Winkle, Reel Festival’s’ Literary Coordinator, in collaboration with Maintenant and 3AM Magazine, the Reel Words event was an evening of poise, impact, and eloquence. Introducing the readers of the evening, 3AM’s Poetry Editor, Steven Fowler, emphasised the theme of the evening as a reminder to people of the ongoing events in Iraq, and spoke about the cyclical nature of news stories presented via Western media. ‘It might have been our country, our culture that was invaded … this [event] is about peoples’ lives’, he remarked, as he asked the audience to compare the situation in Iraq with that of the UK.
The first half of the night played host to a variety of poets. Particularly outstanding was Patrick Coyle, who read a poem entitled Kirsty Wark’s Questions to Tony Blair, Reversed. Dictating a series of events backwards, Coyle counted down as the narrative progressed in Kirsty’s dialogue with Blair. Images were confused, and the narration distorted, as he disoriented minds with his verse in reverse. Highly engaging, his careful intonation lending itself to the backwardness of the text, the audience was still able to make sense of his words in their chaotic format....."