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City of Non-Existence



Special thanks to the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, community.  In particular, we wish to thank Athanasios Moulakis, former President, and Darcy Wudel, former Dean of Faculty, who approved and supported the creation of this class, to Kyle Long, Director of Communications, and the Communications Office, specifically, Kaitlin Taylor and Bzhar Boskani, who put together publicity materials for our final reading at Cha Hanishab.

Matar, 'Optimism'

Matar (1954-), 'Optimism'

(translated from the Arabic by Sivar Qazaz)


A knock on my door: a creature carrying the horrible shackles of slaves,
Infection in his mouth, obituaries in his hands, 
Malevolence in his eyes,

Abdulla Pashew, 'Children, an excerpt'

Abdulla Pashew (1946-), 'Children'

(excerpt; translated from the Kurdish by Shadman Hiwa)


Yahya Kemal Beyali, 'Silent Ship'

Yahya Kemal Beyali (1884-1958), 'Silent Ship'

(translated from the Turkish by Nergis Ismet and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)


When it is time to take anchor from time,
A ship departs from this harbor to nowhere.

As though it has no passenger, silently it begins its trip:
Neither a handkerchief nor an arm moves while it departs.

Mohammed Omar Othman, 'A Telegram'

Mohammed Omar Othman (1957-),  'A Telegram'

(translated from the Kurdish by Muhammed Chawsawa)


Nizar Qabbani, 'I Fear'

Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998), 'I Fear'

(translated from the Arabic by Soran Hunter)


I fear to say to whom I loveFear
"I love you"
As the wine in the jar
Loses something
When we pour it.

Mohammed Omar Othman: 'A Fall Letter'

Mohammed Omar Othman (1957-), 'A Fall Letter'

(translated from the Kurdish by Muhammed Chawsawa and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)


Sheikh Raza Talabani, “Five Bricks to the Messiah"

Sheikh Raza Talabani (1936-1910), “Five Bricks to the Messiah"

(translated from the Farsi by Shadman Hiwa and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)


Sherko Bekas, 'When I Was a Child'

Sherko Bekas (1940-2013), 'When I Was a Child'

(translated from the Kurdish by Muhammed Chawsawa and A.M. Levinson-LaBrosse)


Mohammed Omar Othman, 'The Lady of the Red Dress'

Mohammed Omar Othman (1957-), 'The Lady of the Red Dress'

(translated from the Kurdish by Muhammed Chawsawa)


Thirty winters have elapsed and
Though the storm’s hand has shaken the bark of her bole millions of times,
The heavy sleet has not been able to shutter the window’s gaze.


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