Afghan women share poems on love, sex and war at London festival

An Afghan female election worker seen in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (AP)

War, sex, love, drones and American soldiers: For Afghanistan’s women poets, nothing is off-limits.

Aiming to share poems that give insight into the lives of Afghan women under war and oppression, a Kabul-based woman who founded the largest women’s literary group in her country will display Afghan verse at a London poetry festival next month.

Mirman Baheer, a female literary society founded by Sahira Sharif, allows women to share short poems “documenting sex, rage, war and heartbreak,” UK paper The Guardian reported Saturday.

Members of the group present an array of Afghan women from all ages and professions, the newspaper said.

International attention was brought to the group when American journalist and poet Eliza Griswold in 2012 shed light on it.

Both Sharif and Griswold will be speaking about the group in Britain for the first time at the International Poetry Festival, which this year focuses on themes of war, conflict and oppression.

Their session discusses why Afghan women put their lives at risk to write poetry.

Commenting on the matter, Griswold said hosting the work of Mirman Baheer at the festival would be “transformative.”

“These poems are about war, they are about love, they are about drones, they are about American soldiers, they are about sex, they are about the size of a husband’s manhood – they don’t hold back,” Griswold told The Guardian.

“They show a side of the life of Afghan women that is otherwise left hidden and no-one would ever dare to try and reveal. You could call these a protest but they are more than that because they show these women using their feminine power to shame men.”
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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