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.’