‘Reel Iraq’: Art, Culture, and Creativity 10 Years Post-invasion

Later this month, the 2013 Reel Iraq festival will be bringing more than 50 events to nine different cities, with events in LondonEdinburghBristolGlasgowDumfriesLeedsDerry/LondonderryNewcastle and Stirling:

reelEvents include lectures, film screenings, author talks, music, and the poetry of — among others — the eight poets who worked together in Erbil, Iraq earlier this year.

That’s when Reel Festivals brought together four Scottish and four Iraqi poets during time of the Erbil Literature Festival. The group translated, revised,  re-revised, and finally performed one another’s poems. According to the festival’s literature programmer, Ryan Van Winkle, “The way we work is to put the poets in a room together with translators and they talk about what it is they mean / want to say. The poets then turn those conversations into poems with the help of a very literal ‘bridge translation’.”

Photo credit: @Reelfestivals

The Iraqi poets were Ghareeb Iskander, Sabreen Kadhim, Zahir Mousa, and Awezan Nouri. The Scots were John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, William Letford and Krystelle Bamford. All should be at the festival, Van Winkle said, “Visas allowing.”

Zahir Moussa blogged about his experience with the January 2013 translation-fest, saying (trans. Dina Mousawi and Lauren Pyott), that, “These workshops were one of the most successful of any attempts to connect the poets of the world, where you are able to cross the borders of language through the intermediary of whatever words you are presented with,” adding that the project brings participants together “on an equal basis, with no cultural or intellectual discrimination.”

Moussa, at the end of his blog, refers to the hope of seeing these Arabic and English translations in print at the March festival. Van Winkle said that, “I think we will have a collection in some form and some of the poems will appear in magazines and websites as well. We’re trying to figure out who with, but yes — that is the intention. There will also be films by the great Roxanna Vilk who came along with us and filmed a lot of the poets.”

Reel Festivals will also feature short-story writer Hassan Blasim, who’ll be in Edinburgh on March 24 and Glasgow March 25,

What about the United States? If anywhere needs a “Reel” festival, isn’t it the US? Van Winkle said:

“The USA? Maybe – our dream is to get to Michigan.”


Events in London