‘Secret poetry’ of Afghan women revealed in new book

A section of the new book’s cover. (Photo courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing house)

A book of compiled subversive poetry from Afghan women was released earlier this month.

The poems, which known as landays, are in traditional two-line verse form, and are seen as a simple form of expression for Afghan women in a society which limits their freedom.

One landay paints a portrait of a women mistakenly killed by her foreign suitor:

“My lover is fair as an American soldier can be.

To him I looked dark as a Talib, so he martyred me.

Another is on the political moves of Afghanisan’s president:

“Hamid Karzai sent our sons to Iran

and made them slaves to heroin.

The book’s title comes from another of its verses:

“In my dream, I am the president.

When I wake, I am the beggar of the world.”

The verses provide “a kind of ethnographic record of tensions and conflicts” in Afghan society, U.S. news site Daily Beast contributor Daniel Bosch wrote in a review of the book.

The book includes photographs taken in Afghanistan by Seamus Murphy, while the landays are translated and compiled by Eliza Griswold.

Based on a 2012 article for the New York Times about Afghan women’s poetry, Griswold decided to take the project further, according to U.S.-based online magazine Slate.

Compiling the volume was a painstaking process, with Griswold visiting refugee camps and homes in search of the verses, while Murphy traveled to Afghanistan twice to photograph daily life in the country.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
Top