Blog

Book Launch of ‘This Room is Waiting’ at Word Power Books

June 25, 2014

It’s a real pleasure to be launching This Room is Waiting with my co-editor Lauren Pyott this Monday 30 June at Word Power Books in Edinburgh. We’ve got readings from Ghareeb Iskander, John Glenday and Krystelle Bamford, and films from Roxana Vilk. Hope to see you there.

At a time of deepening crisis for Iraq and its people, join us for an exciting evening of poetry in translation from some of Iraq and Scotland’s greatest poets. Following on from the Reel Iraq translation project in 2013, Reel Festivals brings you This Room is Waiting (Freight Books), “a ground breaking anthology” (TheTanjara) of poems harvested from the riches of translation.

To launch the book, Ghareeb Iskander, John Glenday and Krystelle Bamford will be reading poems from the anthology and sharing their experiences of friendship and collaboration through poetry.

About the anthology:

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.

This Room is Waiting is Published by Freight

May 19, 2014

Delighted to report that This Room is Waiting, a collection of the poems written during the Reel Iraq Festival by UK poets Jen Hadfield, Billy Letford, Krystelle Bamford and John Glenday, by Iraqi poets Zahir Mousa, Sabreen Kadhim, Ghareeb Iskander and Awezan Nouri, and edited by myself and Lauren Pyott, has been published by Freight Books. 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.

Structo Magazine has also given us our first review: ‘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.’

In Which Ryan Photoblogs his Experiences

May 6, 2014

Recently I had the privilege of taking a trip to Iraq with some really talented artists as part of the Reel Arts: Niniti Literature Festival. If you were curious about how one might document such a trip photographically, look no further than the Reel Festivals Blog.

Ryan Discovers the Farrokhzad Connection in Iraq

May 3, 2014

Recently I had the privilege of taking a trip to Iraq with a group of seriously talented artists as part of the Reel Arts: Niniti Literature Festival. The second of my journal entries is posted at the Reel Festivals blog.

Ryan gets A Little Perspective in Fallujah

May 1, 2014

Recently I joined a group of poets on a trip to Iraq for the Reel Arts: Niniti Literature Festival. We saw some amazing things. The first of two journal entries from me is available on the Reel Festivals Blog.

Reel Iraq: Golden Hour at the EIBF

August 2, 2013

On Monday 19 August the Reel Iraq team of Scottish and Iraqi poets and artists are part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Unbound series. We’re showing off some of the best work from both countries, plus some of our collaborations and translations. It’s going to be a really special night, hope to see you there.

Reel Iraq: The Golden Hour

Monday 19 August, 9-11pm (FREE)

Revel in a special evening of contemporary Iraqi culture, to mark ten years since the invasion of Iraq, with poetry, theatre and music. Featuring acclaimed Iraqi poets Sabreen Kadhim (coming direct from Baghdad) and Ghareeb Iskander, accompanied by new translations from renowned Scotland-based poets Krystelle Bamford, John Glenday, Jen Hadfield and William Letford; compelling theatre from Dina Moussawi and Iraqi Choobi dance music. This event is supported in part by Creative Scotland and LIFT Festival.

What: Reel Iraq: The Golden Hour

Where: The Guardian Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

When: Monday 19 August, 9-11pm

How Much: FREE.

 

Reel Iraq on the SPL Podcast

July 31, 2013

In January this year Reel Festivals organised a series of events and translation workshops in Erbil, Iraq with Scottish and Iraqi poets. The whole team then came back to Scotland in March, going on an huge journey in a tiny vehicle, presenting our work to the nation. In this edition of the Scottish Poetry Library Podcast all of the participants talk about their experiences and read their work. Featuring John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, Ghareeb Iskander, William Letford, Krystelle Bamford, Awezan Nouri, Sabreen Kadhim and Zaher Mousa, with support from Dina Mousawi and Lauren Pyott.

Golden Hour Teams Up With Reel Festivals in Stirling

March 11, 2013

Stirling: The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour has packed houses throughout the world — from the Edinburgh International Book Festival all the way to Melbourne with stops in Berlin, Paris, Beirut and Montreal. This time, we have the distinct pleasure of bringing our closing party for Reel Iraq to Stirling’s Raploch Community Campus, featuring renowned Iraqi and Scottish poets, short films, and music from Billy Liar & Hailey Beavis.

We have Iraqi poetry from Ghareeb Iskander, Sabreen Kadhim, Zahir Mousa, Awezan Nouri and new translations from John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, William Letford and Krystelle Bamford. We did some great work with these guys during our stay in Iraq, and we’re really proud to host them in Scotland. It’s a free show, so if you’re in Stirling on Monday 25 March, come join us for some amazing and unique poetry performances.

What: Reel Iraq Closing Party

Where: Raploch Community Campus, Drip Rd, Stirling, FK8 1RD

When: Monday 25 March, 7pm

How Much: FREE!

Reel Iraq 2013 Is Coming to Scotland

February 25, 2013

Really exciting news! The good people at Reel Festivals have announced their full programme of events for Reel Iraq 2013, which runs from 21-25 March all across the UK, including dates for the calendars of the citizens of London, Dumfries, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. There’s a huge amount going on, with short film showings, music, poetry and writing workshops, really worth making a note of and coming along to support some of the best artists Iraq has to share with us.

We’re hitting the road in a massive poetic convoy with our Found in Translation team, featuring Ghareeb IskanderSabreen KadhimZahir Mousa, and Awezan Nouri, our friends John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, William Letford, and Krystelle Bamford, plus so many massively talented UK-based poets joining us along the way, including George Szirtes, Tom Pow, Vicki Feaver, Miriam Gamble and Joe Dunthorne, to name a scant few. It’s going to be one week-long celebration of poems and the humans who write them, we’ll be exhausted and euphoric and we invite you to do likewise.

PLUS if you can make it up to Raploch Community Campus on Monday 25th, we’re throwing an intensely unique Golden Hour to bring this year’s Reel Iraq to a close, featuring all the aforementioned Iraqi and Scottish poets, short films, and music from Billy Liar, Hailey Beavis and others. You will pause, ponder, clap and sing along.

Can’t wait to get all this underway, can’t wait to see you there, and to put you in the mood, here’s Reel Festival’s very own theatrical trailer.

Ryan is a Guest at the Reel Festivals Blog

February 4, 2013

The Streets of Erbil

In the past few weeks I’ve had the huge privilege of going out to Iraq with the excellent people at the Erbil Literature Festival and Reel Festivals. While in Erbil and Shaqlawa in the Kurdish region of Iraq we played and worked with 8 Scottish and Iraqi poets – whose work you’ll see here in the UK in March – but in the meantime here are a few blog posts to whet your appetite and to give you an idea of what Reel Festivals is all about. Click on the headline for the full feature! 

Smile, You’re in Erbil!

In less than a day our troupe of Scottish and Iraqi poets will converge here in Erbil before bussing over to Shaqlawa in the foothills of the Safeen mountains. There, not unlike everywhere in Western Europe, there will be snow.

On the journey here, the snow was our enemy but soon, I hope, it will be our friend. Weather conditions meant Dan Gorman and I were waylaid in Vienna. While kicking around the airport Dan met a couple of stranded Iraqis on their way home to Oslo. When they heard where we were headed one exclaimed, “Shaqlawa makes me insane!” This has become our motto.

In Which We Glimpse World Peace

I first met Lukman Derky in Damascus in November, 2010. At the time he was running a spoken word event so rare, courageous, and new that it was covered in The New York Times before Syria began meriting headlines for the worst reasons. A cultural cowboy, Derky’s Bayt al-Qasid (House of Poetry) was doing something many of us take for granted – bringing people together to perform and play. In that dimly lit basement bar where secret police likely hid in plain sight – people spoke freely.

Poets in the Game Zone

A chance encounter of an evening stroll in Shaqlawa, Iraq found the Reel Iraq cohort make a surprisingly fluid transition from poet to sportsmaster.

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